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News Releases from Region 03

University of Pittsburgh Receives Accolades From EPA For Food Recovery Achievements

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EPA Region 3 Press Office (

PHILADELPHIA (December 11, 2018) –  Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the University of Pittsburgh for its food recovery achievements that include composting more than 135 tons of food in 2017 that would have otherwise ended up in a municipal 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.”

In 2014, a student group known as the Food Recovery Heroes began recovering surplus food from a campus bakery when they noticed surplus food was being thrown out at the end of the night. Four years later, in 2018, after conversations with chefs and volunteers, students are recovering food from multiple campus-wide dining halls and cafeterias, including the basketball arena after games and concerts.

The awareness students brought to food waste also led to an increase in composting on campus. Student involvement in composting resulted in the University's composting effort increasing nearly 600 percent from 2016 to 2017 - from 19.5 tons to 135.8 tons.

The University was among more than 1,000 governments, businesses and organizations nationwide that participated in the 2017 EPA Food Recovery Challenge. The University of Pittsburgh received the EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional award in the Data Driven category for colleges and universities. Nationwide, Food Recovery Challenge participants diverted nearly 648,000 tons of wasted food from entering landfills or incinerators in 2017, nearly 214,000 tons of which were donated to people and animal feed.

For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge, visit: .