RecyclingWorks in MA Receives National Honor for Food Waste Diversion Efforts during U.S. EPA’s Food Recovery Month of Action

Media release

Contact: 

Lorenzo Macaluso, director of Green Business Services, Center for EcoTechnology

413.218.1543 (cell); lorenzo.macaluso@cetonline.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Announcement Today

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts Receives National Honor for Food Waste Diversion Efforts during U.S. EPA’s Food Recovery Month of Action

November, 19, 2015 – Northampton, MA.  Earlier today, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection won US EPA’s 2015 National Food Recovery Challenge Endorser Award for leading food recovery outreach and technical assistance efforts in the Commonwealth and for its direction of the RecyclingWorks in MA program. RecyclingWorks is administered under contract by the Center for EcoTechnology, a non-profit environmental agency based in Northampton, MA.

EPA Award

From left to right: Joshua Cook, Green Business Specialist, Heather Billings, Green Business Specialist, Sean Sylver, Regional Planner at MassDEP, Emily Fabel, Green Business Program Specialist, Lorenzo Macaluso, Director of Green Business and RecyclingWorks MA, John Fischer, Branch Chief, Commercial Waste Reduction & Waste Planning at the Massachusetts Department for Environmental Protection, Cate Foley, Green Business Support Specialist

MassDEP and Center for EcoTechnology were among four New England organizations that were honored nationally by US EPA earlier at the WasteWise fall forum, held in North Chelmsford (on November 19).

According to the U.S. EPA, Americans throw out more food than any other type of waste. In 2013 alone, 37 million tons of food waste were generated, of which only 1.84 million tons (5%) were recovered, resulting in 35 million tons going into the nation’s landfills.

In the past 12 months, during which time the State of Massachusetts launched its Commercial Food Waste Disposal ban, RecyclingWorks has helped businesses launch food waste diversion programs, including food donation, animal feed, anaerobic digestion and composting. These programs have helped divert more than 4,570 tons of food waste from the trash.

“It is a privilege to collaborate with the hard working and dedicated people at MassDEP and U.S. EPA”, said Lorenzo Macaluso, manager of RecyclingWorks and director of Green Business Services at the Center for EcoTechnology.  “Our partnerships and resources have enabled us to help thousands of businesses to reduce all waste, but especially food waste.”

The U.S. EPA’s Waste Wise program and Food Recovery Challenge are an important part of the suite of services offered through RecyclingWorks, said Macaluso. “The workshops, forums and communications help motivate businesses and provide a nationally recognized program for businesses to associate with. Many businesses see the value in the program and we are happy to facilitate industry connections for them.”

Several of the businesses and institutions that RecyclingWorks has helped and connected with the Food Recovery Challenge have received recognition from U.S. EPA at the Waste Wise forum, said Macaluso.

“These businesses and many others who have taken similar actions to reduce waste, recycle and compost are the real winners today,” he said. “They are reaping the financial, social and economic benefits of implementing these waste diversion initiatives.”

RecyclingWorks customers to receive a 2015 U.S. EPA Regional Food Recovery Achievement Certificate for their work reducing food waste include: The University of Massachusetts in Lowell; Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge; Big Y headquartered in Springfield; Genzyme, a Sanofi Company, with various locations in Massachusetts; and Fairview Hospital of Berkshire Hospital Systems in Great Barrington, MA.

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About RecyclingWorks

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts, a program funded by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), helps businesses and institutions create successful food waste diversion programs and maximize recycling opportunities. RecyclingWorks provides all services at no cost to Massachusetts businesses and institutions and is focused on helping you prepare for the ban and get into compliance early. Recycling experts are available to help you navigate the requirements of the ban and to aid you in designing a successful, cost-effective food waste diversion program.

About the Center for EcoTechnology

The Center for EcoTechnology helps people and businesses in local communities save energy and reduce waste. For nearly 40 years, CET has offered proven advice and resources to save money, make people more comfortable at home, and help businesses perform better.

As a non-profit 501(c)(3), CET works with partners throughout the region to help transform the way we live and work for a better community, economy, and environment. CET provide practical solutions that save energy, materials and money and have a positive impact on the environment and communities. CET serve residents, business and communities in the areas of energy efficiency and waste reduction and through its retail store, EcoBuilding Bargains.

About the U.S. EPA Food Recovery Challenge

New England Food Recovery Challenge participants diverted over 38,000 tons of food to donation and/or composting in 2015. EPA is working to solve the wasted food problem and provide assistance to families, communities, organizations and businesses through its Sustainable Management of Food initiatives.  The Food Recovery Challenge for which these organizations are being recognized is part of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of materials throughout its entire lifecycle.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 14 percent of American households were uncertain of having or unable to acquire enough food to meet the needs of all of their members at some time during 2013. In many cases, the food tossed into our nation’s landfills is wholesome, edible food.

Food waste is the largest stream of materials in our landfills, accounting for 21% of the American waste stream. Last month, the US EPA and USDA announced a national goal to reduce wasted food by 50% by 2030.  Diverting food waste from landfills also reduces the generation of harmful gases that contribute to climate change. When food is disposed of in a landfill, it decomposes rapidly and become a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Food and food scraps not fit for consumption can be used to feed the soil by composting or added to anaerobic digestion facilities, which produce biogas that can be used for energy.

More information on EPA’s Food Recovery Challengehttp://www2.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food

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