University tackles recycling, composting as part of focus on sustainability
Saturday, January 30, 2016
The national honor, which is part of the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge program, recognizes Lesley as a leading New England institution for successfully diverting food waste from landfills. The university is among just 24 organizations in all six New England states that received the EPA’s Regional Food Recovery Achievement Certificate.
“Since 2009, we have not only diverted waste from landfills but also reduced waste,” says Sara Wolons, Lesley’s campus sustainability coordinator. “Along with composting, we installed a compactor for single-stream recycling of cardboard, glass and aluminum. And tableware such as napkins, plates, food baskets, cutlery and cups are composted as well.”
Through a partnership with Food For Free, a nonprofit organization located in Cambridge, fresh food that might otherwise go to waste is distributed within the local emergency food system where it can reach those in need.
The Cambridge City Council unanimously passed a resolution congratulating Lesley for the EPA recognition, noting that the honor establishes Cambridge “as a regional leader in reducing food waste.”
“The hard work and commitment from our New England-based Food Recovery Challenge awardees is demonstrating that protecting the environment, saving money and feeding the hungry can go hand in hand,” Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office, said in a statement. “It’s good old-fashioned common sense that we should use food to feed people and not landfills.”
According to the EPA, food waste is the largest stream of materials in our landfills, accounting for 21 percent of the American waste stream. Diverting food waste from landfills reduces the generation of harmful gases that contribute to climate change, enhances the physical structure of soil, and provides greater drought resistance.
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