The Food Recovery Challenge seeks to combat the millions of tons of food that is thrown away in the United States each year, a figure that surpassed 37 million tons in 2013. In addition to wasting food that Americans living with hunger need, food waste also contributes to climate change. In landfills, it decays and creates methane, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming.
Through the Food Recovery Challenge, the EPA helps participants, such as schools, shops, venues and even sports teams, reduce their waste via assessment, goal setting and progress tracking. Reduction methods include donating unused food, which Earth Day Texas did this year when it gave 1,000 boxed salads to Dallas food banks shelters. Dillard University and the University of Arkansas removed trays from their dining facilities, which can reduce waste by 30 percent, and the University of Arkansas also ran a Clean Plate outreach event that eliminated 1,000 pounds of waste in a week.