HARRISBURG, Pa. (September 21, 2011) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic region marked National Pollution Prevention Week by recognizing Weis Markets and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank for their participation in the growing ranks of organizations enrolling in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. The ceremony took place at the food bank’s Harrisburg distribution center.
EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge encourages organizations to reduce, donate, and recycle as much of their food waste as possible, which saves money, feeds the needy, and helps protect the environment.
After paper, food waste is the second largest waste category in the U.S. In 2009, 34 million tons of food waste was generated. Of that, 33 million tons, or 97 percent, was thrown away in landfills or incinerators. When excess food, leftover food, and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose rapidly and become a significant source of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming.
“Pollution Prevention Week is an excellent time to raise awareness of two issues which go hand-in-hand: food waste and hunger. We’re pleased that the efforts of these two new partners will help alleviate hunger while also helping the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.
Sustainable practices are nothing new to Weis Markets. They have already been recognized by EPA for participation in the agency’s Green Chill program and as an EnergyStar partner. Green Chill is an EPA partnership with food retailers to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer and climate change.
“Weis Markets is pleased to be working with the EPA and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in the Food Recovery Challenge. Food waste management is one of our key sustainability initiatives and we are developing programs to manage food waste in a manner that benefits key community organizations, our business and the environment” said Patti Olenick, Sustainability Manager for Weis Markets.
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank distributes more than 20 million pounds food and grocery products each year to more than 600 soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries in 27 central Pennsylvania counties. In addition to dollar donations, these agencies directly feed thousands of hungry families through food and grocery product donations.
By joining the Food Recovery Challenge as an “Endorser,” the food bank will work with EPA to help promote participation in the Food Recovery Challenge by their affiliates and suppliers.
“The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is proud to become an Endorser in the Food Recovery Challenge. By proactively searching for methods to conserve resources everyone can play a pivotal role in furthering our mission of fighting hunger, improving lives and strengthening communities” said J. Kendall Hanna, the Food Bank’s Executive Director.
For More information on the Food Recovery Challenge go to:
For more information on P2 and Pollution Prevention Week go to: http://www.epa.gov/p2week/
For more information on EnergyStar, go to: www.energystar.gov
For more information on GreenChill, go to: www.epa.gov/greenchill/