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EPA to Recognize Washington University in St. Louis for Recycling and Food Recovery Programs on Wednesday, May 21

Release Date: 05/20/2014
Contact Information: EPA Region 7 - Kris Lancaster, 913-551-7557,; Washington University - Neil Schoenherr, 314-935-5235,

Environmental News


(Lenexa, Kan., May 20, 2014) - An EPA Region 7 representative will be in St. Louis, Mo., on Wednesday, May 21, to officially recognize Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) for reducing its volume of solid waste and to view first-hand its innovative recycling and food recovery programs.

WUSTL Dining Services’ compost efforts have diverted 317 tons of food waste from landfills since 2011. When this food decomposes in landfills, it becomes a significant source of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas and affects climate change, including warmer temperatures, stronger storms and more droughts. WUSTL is helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and affect public health.

A certificate presentation and media tour of Washington University recycling areas, at Bear’s Den, South 40 House, 6515 Wydown Blvd., will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21.

WHO: John Smith, EPA Region 7 Deputy Director of the Air and Waste Management Division, and Phil Valko, WUSTL’s Director of Sustainability

WHAT: John Smith will present a certificate and join WUSTL officials for a walking tour of the university’s recycling areas.

WHERE: WUSTL Dining Services, Bear’s Den, South 40 House, 6515 Wydown Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. 63105. News media may park in the Wallace Garage. Map of Danforth Campus (South 40 House is #106 on the map. Wallace Parking Garage is #87.)

WHEN: 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., May 21, 2014

Visuals - Certificate presentation; kitchen staff engaging in sustainable-food recovery practices; biodiesel tank; food pulper; and tour of recycling areas.

WUSTL Dining Services food waste is taken to St. Louis Composting where the waste is mixed and converted into compost. The university then reuses the compost from St. Louis Composting on campus grounds. Dining Services uses cage-free eggs, many locally grown foods, 100 percent recycled napkins, compostable to-go containers, and practices organic composting. The university also features bulk condiments and a “Choose Reusables” program that features a reusable to-go box program.

WUSTL has recycled more than 23,000 gallons of kitchen waste oil into biodiesel to fuel campus delivery trucks. The fat to fuel process recovers energy and recycles waste oils.

WUSTL was the first university in North America to eliminate the sale of bottled water on its grounds. WUSTL’s ban eliminates 386,000 bottles and saves 15,000 gallons of oil each year. Newly installed water fountain retrofits make refilling reusable water bottles fast and convenient.

WUSTL Dining Services has significantly reduced the amount of overall food waste produced (pre- and post-production) by streamlining ordering and production procedures. However, when available, the university donates leftover packaged foods to Campus Kitchens, which repurposes the food into meals for shelters and groups in the community.

WUSTL recently joined EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC), a national initiative aimed at encouraging organizations to find better alternatives to throwing food away. It helps organizations learn to practice leaner purchasing and divert surplus food away from landfills to hunger-relief organizations and onto the tables of those in need in the community. It also diverts food scraps, suitable for composting or animal consumption, to composting or animal feed.

There are 18 other member organizations participating in FRC in Region 7: Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Luther College, Decorah, Iowa; Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Mo.; Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Mo.; Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kan.; St Louis University, St. Louis, Mo.; Truman State University, Kirksville, Mo.; University of Iowa-Iowa City; Kansas City Chiefs; St. Louis Cardinals; Kansas State University; St. Louis Blues Hockey; University of Kansas; University of Missouri-Columbia; University of Missouri-Kansas City; University of Northern Iowa; Society of St. Andrew; and Harvest Café and Wine Bar.

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