The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Ahold USA the parent company of GIANT Food Stores and three other grocery banners for outstanding contributions to EPA’s s Food Recovery Challenge. The Food Recovery Challenge encourages organizations to donate and divert as much of their excess food as possible. Organizations that join EPA’s challenge find that they not only save money, but they also feed the needy, and help protect the environment at the same time.
“The Food Recovery Challenge benefits families in need, helps grocers reduce costs, supplies badly needed donations to organizations like the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, and helps to create green jobs,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Today is America Recycles Day, and with Thanksgiving just a week away, this is an excellent time to raise awareness of this important issue.”
Food is the largest waste category in the U.S. going into municipal landfills. In 2011, 36 million tons of food waste was generated. When excess food, leftover food, and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose rapidly and become a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.
During 2012, Ahold USA provided food donations equivalent to more than 12 million meals served based on conversion factors used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food not suitable for donation in the amount of 19,000 tons was diverted into composting instead of being sent to landfills. That represents approximately 3,820 tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions.
“Ahold USA and our retail divisions like GIANT are committed to reducing waste and minimizing our impact on the environment while at the same time maximizing food donations to regional food banks,” said Tracy Pawelski, vice president, external communications and community relations, Ahold USA. “The EPA Food Recovery Challenge not only makes good business sense by lowering costs, but can be a game changer for local hunger relief efforts, especially during these times of need.”
“The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is proud to play a part in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge,” said Joe Arthur, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank executive director. “The number of people needing food assistance is at an all-time high, so by proactively searching for new methods to conserve food and resources everyone can play a pivotal role in furthering the Food Bank’s mission of fighting hunger, improving lives and strengthening communities.”