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Pitt students recognized by EPA for eliminating on-campus food waste |

Pitt students recognized by EPA for eliminating on-campus food waste

Patrick Varine
Submitted photo
A stack of food trays is reserved for the University of Pittsburgh's Food Recovery Heroes group for redistribution. The group was recognized in December 2018 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts to eliminate food waste.
Submitted photo
A lunch set to be served using food collected by the University of Pittsburgh's Food Recovery Heroes group.
Submitted photo
Food Recovery Heroes member Laurel Schlusser poses for a photo with recovered bagels.

Four years ago, a group of students at the University of Pittsburgh began to notice how much surplus food was being discarded daily at a campus bakery and resolved to find a way to prevent it from being wasted.

This year, Pitt’s Food Recovery Heroes group was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the EPA’s annual Food Recovery Challenge, which asks organizations to find ways they can improve sustainable food-management practices.

Members of the group recover food from multiple dining halls and cafeterias, and from the Petersen Events Center following games and concerts.

Between 2016 and 2017, the university’s composting efforts increased nearly 600 percent, from 19.5 tons in 2016 to more than 135 tons in 2017. That food and potential energy would otherwise have been incinerated or ended up in a landfill.

“EPA is proud of the way the University of Pittsburgh students have developed an innovative program to reduce food waste,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Through EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, EPA partners with municipalities, businesses, nonprofits and other entities to reduce the amount of food in landfills and help them save money on waste disposal.”

The Food Recovery Heroes were recognized as part of the challenge’s data-driven category. Nationwide, nearly 648,000 tons of food was diverted from landfills, and more than 200,000 tons was donated to people or used for animal feed.

Click here for more on the EPA Food Recovery Challenge.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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