Blog Post

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized four Massachusetts entities with 2019 Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) awards. The Food Recovery Challenge is a voluntary program for organizations and businesses to implement strategies to reduce food waste in their operations in alignment with the Food Recovery Hierarchy. If your organization is not already a Food Recovery Challenge Participant, click here to learn more and join the program. Congratulations to all of the EPA FRC award winners!

National Award Winners are recognized for their percentage increase in waste diversion activities. These two Massachusetts winners have also been recognized in previous years:

  • Signature Breads, Inc. of Chelsea received recognition in the Food Manufacturing category. The company operates programs to reduce, donate, and divert food scraps at the facility. In 2018, Signature Breads donated over four tons of surplus edible bread to local food rescue and hunger relief organizations, and processed over 3,000 tons of bread and dough for animal feed. To address source reduction, the company incorporates a food waste compacter and scale to track excess and adjust operation patterns.
  • Katharine Lee Bates Elementary School in Wellesley Hills was recognized as the data-driven winner in the K-12 schools category. After conducting a comprehensive cafeteria waste audit in 2016, the school has since incorporated successful recycling and food waste diversion programs. Each week in 2018, the school sent 84 pounds of liquid food waste for anaerobic digestion and donated 29 pounds of kitchen leftovers to Food for Free. Their efforts have inspired other schools in the district to pilot similar programs and expand to divert additional materials, including post-consumer food waste.

Regional Award Winners for EPA Region 1 include Island Grown Initiative and the Center for EcoTechnology, which also administers the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) program.

  • On Martha’s Vineyard, The Island Grown Initiative has expanded their work through the Food Waste Reduction and Redirection Project, and now all town transfer stations are accepting food waste. In 2018, a student-led initiative at the high school recovered 1.34 tons of food waste for compost through their redesigned cafeteria waste system. The business community and local events diverted an additional 239 tons of food, which was distributed through local food rescue organizations or composted.
  • The Center for EcoTechnology in Florence helps people and businesses save energy and reduce waste. The nonprofit received recognition for their Wasted Food Solutions work across Hartford County, Connecticut, which helps prevent and divert food waste from businesses, institutions, and schools. The project in Hartford County led to the creation of a guidance document on Food Donation by Connecticut Schools, and the businesses that CET assisted in 2018 are projected to divert 136 tons of food waste each year.

RecyclingWorks has worked with many Food Recovery Challenge award winners to help identify opportunities for increased food diversion outlets. We offer guidance on Source Reduction, Food Donation, and Source Separation of Food Waste to help businesses and institutions manage effective programs. To speak to a food recovery expert and learn more about our no-cost assistance, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at