Four-thousand and counting! 4,024 to be exact. That is the number of participants in the U.S. Food Waste Challenge at the end of April, 2015.
These participants-- businesses, schools and organizations from across the country— are working to reduce food loss and waste in their operations. And, they have taken the time to join the U.S. Food Waste Challenge by sharing their activities on the USDA Food Waste Challenge website or working with EPA experts to measure their food waste reductions through the Food Recovery Challenge.
While the name on the participant list of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge may be that of a corporate, government, school or other entity, the real participants in the U.S. Food Waste Challenge are the managers, chefs, employees, teachers and students who are working to implement change. They are the managers and employees at Albertson’s and Safeway stores who load up wholesome excess food for food banks (72 million pounds donated in 2013), or divert bone, fat and used cooking oil to recycling outlets; or implement just-in-time ordering to prevent waste before it happens. They are the chefs and employees at the Big Red Tomato in Fort Pierce, Florida, and Big Fat Cupcakes in Denver, Colorado, who take the time to package wholesome unsold food (and treats) to give to the needy in their communities. At Hamburger Mary’s in Chicago, they are the employees who compost food scraps through the Illinois Food Scraps Coalition. At the University of California in Riverside, they are the students who precariously balance their food as they make their way through cafeteria lines (trayless service lines can help reduce waste). And, in Hammond, Indiana, they are the elementary, middle and high school students who are helping to get wholesome leftovers from breakfast and lunch to their local food bank.
These thousands of people are working in thousands of locations across the country to reduce food loss and waste. They work at the 2,230 Albertson’s and Safeway banner stores that just joined the Challenge and at the over 1,400 other grocery stores, restaurants, manufacturers, sports stadiums and other business. The participants study at the over 300 colleges and K-12 schools that have added their names to the Challenge roster. Chances are good that you can find a participating school, grocery store, restaurant or other business in your neighborhood. If not, help us spread the word. The U.S. Food Waste Challenge website has tips on reducing, recovering and recycling food waste – and forms to join the Challenge.
Let’s make it 6,000 and counting for 2016!