A business and several government organizations in San Diego County were honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday for programs that keep excess food from going into landfills.
They were among 950 entities that competed in the agency’s Food Recovery Challenge.
“Food Recovery Challenge award winners serve as role models in their communities and for other organizations,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
“Their hard work and effective efforts to divert wasted food from landfills is paying off through social, financial and environmental benefits,” Pruitt said. “I encourage other organizations to replicate the successful food recovery operations of our challenge winners.”
San Diego-area winners were:
— the city of San Diego, for a comprehensive education program for commercial food providers that had more than 80 participants last year who composted more than 8,000 pounds of excess food, while 17 significantly increased food donations;
— San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, for a program that separates food from other waste at Lindbergh Field restaurants, and sends the food to composting facilities at the Miramar Landfill;
— Ramona High School, for a student-run collaboration with the county and Ramona Unified School District to collect and compost food waste from eight district campuses, while also saving food for a pantry for the needy;
— Cherokee Point Elementary School in San Diego, for instituting a program in which students can decline in advance food they don’t intend to eat, thereby giving school officials a more accurate forecast of how much food they need to provide; and
— Sprouts Farmers Market, Carlsbad store, for preventing more than 31 million pounds of wasted food from entering landfills and avoiding more than $1.5 million in landfill fees in 2016 while promoting food donations.
“We remain a model for the rest of the nation in showing the value of recycling and reusing our waste rather than just throwing it away,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “We are on pace to reach our goal of reusing more and more of our trash over the next few decades thanks to our dedicated city staff who continue to develop innovative solutions and create a cleaner future for all San Diegans.”
The city instituted a plan a couple of years ago designed to drastically reduce the amount of garbage — of all kinds — that ends up at the landfill, which is nearing its capacity.
City officials said San Diego was the only municipality to earn a challenge award.
–City News Service
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: