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Worcester State Wins EPA’s National Food Recovery Challenge

February 4, 2015
By: Renae Lias Claffey

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named Worcester State University its “College and University” winner of the national Food Recovery Challenge. The award recognizes outstanding leadership in wasted food prevention and diversion.

“Worcester State University is a national leader in sustainable practices, and now the EPA has recognized one of our signature initiatives,” said President Barry M. Maloney. “Our full-time sustainability coordinator and our committed food services partner, Chartwells, have worked together to make our food waste recovery a national model.” Chartwells is Worcester State University’s food service provider.

“We’re honored to receive this award,” said Steven Bandarra, Sustainability Coordinator at Worcester State University. “It’s a result of a lot of hard work and successful partnerships. Worcester State’s facilities department was visionary in initiating this program. Invaluable consulting was also provided by the Center for EcoTechnology, on behalf of the MassDEP’s Recycling Works program.” The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection offers a video of Worcester State’s program on its RecyclingWorks site, here.

A year and a half before the Massachusetts commercial food waste ban went into effect on Oct. 1, 2014, Worcester State was already diverting food waste. Instead of rotting in a landfill, the waste is reused as a valuable soil supplement for agriculture.

The Food Recovery Challenge encourages participants to reduce their carbon footprint and help their local communities by reducing and reusing waste. The aim of the challenge is to protect the environment, save money, and feed the hungry. Worcester State was recognized for its composting program, which produced a large percentage increase in food recovery.

See more about Worcester State University’s sustainability efforts campus-wide here, and see the list of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge winners here.  Fellow Massachusetts higher education institution, Wellesley College, received the EPA’s honorable mention.

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