Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Pitt for its food recovery achievements with an EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Food Recovery Award in the Data Driven category.
The award was given as part of the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, in which organizations, businesses, and municipalities nationwide voluntarily work towards reducing the amount of food waste they produce. In 2017, program participants diverted a total of 648,000 tons of food waste from landfills or incinerators, nearly a third of which was donated to people or used for animal feed.
Pitt’s food recovery efforts gained traction in 2014 as part of a student-run club called Food Recovery Heroes. When the group noticed the concerning amount of food being thrown away from the Oakland Bakery (now Maggie and Stella’s Cards & Gifts) at the end of each day, they decided to take action. Thanks to these initial steps, Pitt has developed a multi-faceted approach to food recovery, involving students, faculty across many departments, and local organizations to recover surplus food from many dining halls and food carts across campus. With these efforts, Pitt was able to compost over 135 tons of food waste in 2017 and donated more than 24,000 pounds of food to local hunger-fighting agencies!