The EPA has recognized the University of Arizona for outstanding efforts as part of its participation in the agency’s Food Recovery Challenge. TheuUniversity’s program, a partnership with the City of Tucson and the Tohono O’odham Nation’s San Xavier co-operative farm, diverted 3.4 million pounds of food waste, landscape debris, and manure from landfills in 2015.
The Compost Cats program grew from a student proposal and uses discarded food waste as compost to help conserve water and grow food, with over 10.4 million pounds of material reused over the past five years.
The EPA notes that food waste takes up the most landfill space of any material, accounting for 21% of the waste stream in the U.S. The Food Recovery Challenge can help institutions and organizations find creative, low-cost ways to cut down on food waste, the disposal of which costs the U.S. more than $161 billion annually.