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Friday, May 16, 2014

Ei Joins EPA Food Recovery Challenge

In 2011 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced the Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) as a response to the incredible volume of food waste and wasted food destined for landfills. For EPA Region IV, the FRC launched within the hospitality sector in early 2014. The ZWA Blog article, EPA Food Recovery Challenge: Region IV launches FRC in hospitality sector, gives program details and an introduction to the food waste dilemma.

With Atlanta's rich history in food waste reduction, donation and recycling via the Zero Waste Zones 2009 launch and the numerous food donation programs, the EPA Region IV FRC launch within the hospitality sector is synergistic with well-established systems. Modeled after the EPA's Food Recovery Hierarchy, the FRC is a voluntary program. Participants pledge to provide a food waste baseline along with annual goals to prevent food waste, donate wasted food and | or recycle food scraps in a state-permitted non-landfill destination. 

In addition, the FRC serves as a food waste tracking tool with report compilation modules. Information entered into the EPA system is proprietary in nature; the EPA only shares metrics in the aggregate.

For Atlanta's heroes, the FRC is a recognition program for a job well done as well as an opportunity to share their experiences with fellow operators. The ZWA Blog articles, Atlanta's Focus on Food Waste Reduction and Food Waste, the business perspective, highlights Atlanta's food waste heroes and successful programs.

Paula Owens with Ted's Montana
Grill & Kim Charick
With strong connections to foodservice industry leaders, Elemental Impact joined the FRC as an Endorser, committing to recruit Program Participants as well as additional Endorsers. 

Over the pursuing weeks, Ei founder Holly Elmore and EPA environmental scientist Kim Charick embarked on a meeting | call marathon recruiting FRC Program Participants and Endorsers. It was fun reconnecting with the early zero waste pioneers. Eager to join, the pioneers receive recognition for their impressive food waste practices and serve as role models for those new to donation and food waste collection programs. The Ei FB album, EPA Food Recovery Challenge, is a pictorial recap of the meetings.

Jon Johnston @ podium
presenting on the FRC
During a 2014 U.S. Zero Waste Business Council Conference plenary session, EPA Chief, RCRA Programs & Materials Jon Johnston gave an FRC overview along with accolades to the impressive program recruitment in less than three months. 

Kudos to the following FRC Participants who said YES to joining the important program and taking a powerful stand on reducing food waste | donating waste food | recycling food scraps:
In addition, the following organizations pledged their FRC support as Endorsers:
... and the recruiting continues! Future blog articles will document new FRC Participants along with metrics on reduced food waste, donated wasted food | recycled food scraps. Stay tuned!


  1. Thanks for the acknowledgment, Holly. As a part of the Food Recovery Challenge, we were required to do some metrics on what we donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank last year - over 7 tons of prepared food. That's the equivalent of feeding 3 meals to 8 or 9 people every day of the year. Of course, we want to be able to have less leftover food, but it's comforting to know that our "overruns" result in taking a chunk out of our local chronic hunger issues.

    1. WOW - Patrick, thank you for sharing Affairs To Remember impressive donation stats. As a former caterer, I understand excess food is often a by-product of catering an event. It is is comforting to know so many hungry folks received delicious meals thanks to ATR taking the effort to donate food in accordance to the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.