HELENA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently named the Montana Department of Environmental Quality as a 2018 Food Recovery Challenge Regional Award winner. EPA presented the award for outstanding efforts and leadership in preventing and diverting food waste and promoting the sustainable management of food. DEQ, along with its partners, diverted 829 tons of wasted food from going into landfills in 2017.
DEQ is one of two winners in EPA’s Region 8, along with the full-service kitchen at the Boulder, Colorado, jail.
“Food waste is a growing problem for people and the environment nationwide,” said DEQ Director Shaun McGrath. “Montana has seen good progress in food waste recovery efforts through DEQ’s work with partners in both cities and small rural communities.”
DEQ and its partners have created food waste recovery opportunities across the state, such as granting money to schools to purchase food waste bins, providing technical assistance and training to composters, and drafting updated regulatory rules that support food recovery activities.
DEQ enables projects such as the “Gardens from Garbage” program in Great Falls – a nonprofit organization that keeps food waste from clogging up the landfill, using it instead to benefit the community. Gardens from Garbage projects include:
· Diverting donated edible food to organizations that provide free meals for children and families.
· Composting inedible food waste using methods that produce no greenhouse gases, using the resulting soil to grow produce that is donated for use in free meals.
· Teaching children and families to garden, compost and prepare and eat healthy food.
Wasted food fills up landfills, creates methane gas that contributes to global warming, and squanders resources such as energy and water. More than 39 million tons of food waste was generated in the United States in 2015. Researchers have found that Americans waste almost a pound of food per day. EPA estimates that food waste makes up 22 percent of discarded municipal solid waste, and more of it reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in everyday trash.
For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/FoodRecoveryAward