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Gonzaga Joins in EPA Food Recovery Challenge to Cut Waste, Save Money and Protect Environment

Gonzaga and campus partner Zag Dining by Sodexo will collaborate to meet the goals of the program to cut food waste and help feed the hungry. Photo by Rajah Bose

SPOKANE, Wash. – President Thayne McCulloh has approved Gonzaga University’s participation in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge, which aims to cut food waste to save money, help communities, and protect the environment. Gonzaga and campus partner Zag Dining by Sodexo will collaborate to meet the goals of the program.

The Challenge is part of the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of materials through their entire life cycle, including how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled, and disposed.

Brian G. Henning, professor of philosophy, co-chair of Gonzaga’s Advisory Council on Stewardship and Sustainability, encouraged everyone at Gonzaga to do their part so the University can reach its goals. Individuals can help by not getting more food than they can eat and by using composting bins located outside of many buildings on campus.

“We will be working with Zag Dining to meet the wonderful goals of this program, which embodies our joint commitment to social and environmental justice,” Henning said. “Wasted food has economic, environmental, and social impacts. Much of this food is not waste, but actually safe, wholesome food that helps feed people in our community.”

Leftovers and scraps not fit for consumption and donation can be recycled into a nutrient-rich soil supplement instead of being thrown away. According to the EPA, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated in 2011, 96 percent of which went into landfills or incinerators. Also, 14.9 percent of households in the United States were food insecure in 2011, meaning they did not know where their next meal would come from. Food decomposes in landfills to generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

For more information, please contact Professor Henning via email [] or at (509) 313-5885.

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