The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced 2020 and 2021 WasteWise and Food Recovery Challenge award winners, which included three Massachusetts organizations:
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)
- Lovin’ Spoonfuls
- Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School – Island Grown Schools
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) was recognized as a 2020 and 2021 National WasteWise Partner of the Year in the Non-profit Organization category, and the 2021 National WasteWise Narrative Winner in the Green Innovator category. As described by the EPA:
“From 2019 to 2020, BIDMC increased its waste diversion rate from 46 percent to 57 percent. This was the result of its efforts to decrease waste, increase donations of medical supplies and equipment, and ensure that construction and demolition debris are properly managed and recycled. BIDMC’s waste prevention and recycling activities have saved the medical center over $200,000 in 2019 and 2020.”
As an example of their dedication to patient safety and waste reduction during the pandemic, BIDMC used vaporized hydrogen peroxide disinfection system to reprocess and redistribute more than 12,500 N95 masks, which is equivalent to 5,000 pounds of waste diverted.
Additionally, EPA named BIDMC a 2020 Food Recovery Challenge winner in the Medical Services Sector. The food service department works to reduce food waste through careful tracking and monitoring. In 2019, BIDMC recovered 127.7 tons of wasted food for anaerobic digestion and collected 200 pounds of food for donation.
EPA also recognized the Boston-based food rescue nonprofit, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, for their wasted food prevention and diversion activities, awarding them a 2021 National Food Recovery Challenge Narrative Category Honorable Mention, Leadership and Education & Outreach. Lovin’ Spoonfuls rescued over 4 million pounds of perishable food in 2020, helping to address an urgent need for individuals facing food insecurity in the Boston area during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the K-12 Schools category, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School with Island Grown Schools was named a 2020 National Food Recovery Challenge Data-driven Winner.
“In 2019, Island Grown Schools (IGS), a local farm-to-school nonprofit, worked with students at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) to implement a food waste collection and diversion program. During the year, MVRHS students and IGS staff rescued more than 25,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill and sent it to be processed into compost.”
Congratulations to all the 2020 and 2021 EPA WasteWise and Food Recovery Challenge award winners!
Please note that EPA is planning to evolve their Sustainable Materials Management partnership programs to align with new priorities. They are no longer accepting new WasteWise or Food Recovery Challenge partners. Please visit their website to learn more about how to engage with EPA as they re-imagine their partnership efforts for the future.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts has worked with many previous WasteWise and Food Recovery Challenge award winners to help identify new opportunities to reduce waste and increase food recovery. We offer guidance on Source Reduction, Food Donation, and Source Separation of Food Waste to help businesses and institutions manage effective programs. To learn more about our no-cost assistance, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.