Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially welcomed new members into its Food Recovery Challenge (FRC). EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge encourages organizations to donate and divert as much of their excess food as possible. Organizations that join EPA’s challenge find that they not only save money, but they also feed the needy, and help protect the environment at the same time.
The new members include: Five Delaware ShopRite stores owned and operated by the Kenny Family, and the Food Bank of Delaware, the states’ largest hunger-relief organization. The official signing ceremony took place at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Newark facility.
“The Food Recovery Challenge is truly a win-win situation. It benefits families in need, helps grocers reduce costs, supplies badly needed donations to organizations like the Food Bank of Delaware, and helps to create green jobs,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.
“Today is America Recycles Day, and with Thanksgiving just a week away, this is an excellent time to raise awareness of this important issue.”
Food is the largest waste category in the U.S. going into landfills. In 2010, 34 million tons of food waste was generated. When excess food, leftover food, and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose rapidly and become a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.
“Recycling food waste reaps tremendous benefits here in Delaware and is vital to our goal of recycling 50 percent of municipal solid waste by 2015,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Kenny Family ShopRites and the Food Bank of Delaware are leading the way as the first in our state to join the Food Recovery Challenge, helping alleviate hunger through more food donations to our needy citizens, creating local recycling jobs, saving businesses on disposal costs and reducing wastes going into landfills – improving our air and water quality.”
The Kenny Family ShopRites became interested in food recovery after attending an EPA workshop presented to the food industry. As a result, the company began a composting pilot earlier this year, working with composting specialists Organic Diversion, of Marton, N.J. As a result of this successful partnership, the Kenny Family is expanding their composting efforts to all of their stores.
As a new participant in the Food Recovery Challenge, Kenny Family ShopRites will continue to increase their composting and their food donations.
“We have been working with the Food Bank of Delaware and other charities to provide food to those in need since we opened in 1995. Through the Food Recovery Challenge we are finding new ways to reduce costs, reduce our environmental footprint, and help those across Delaware through increased food donations” said Melissa Kenny, sustainability manager, for the Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware.
Founded in 1981, the Food Bank of Delaware provides food for the hungry in the entire state of Delaware. The Food Bank of Delaware provides food to food pantries, emergency shelters, low-income day care centers, after-school programs, senior centers, churches and other feeding programs. Through a network of agencies, food-pantries, etc., the Food Bank serves 241,600 Delawareans each year.
“We are thrilled to partner with ShopRite on this important initiative,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “This partnership is a win-win for both ShopRite and the Food Bank of Delaware – by diverting healthy, fresh foods from the landfill we’re able to protect our environment, but most importantly we’re able to get good foods into the hands of those who need it most.”
For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge go to:
Check out some pictures from today’s event!