UW News

January 31, 2022

UW wins 2021 EPA Regional Food Recovery Challenge, preventing waste and feeding the hungry

UW farms

The UW was recognized by the EPA for how well the university reduced food waste and helped feed the community. Part of that effort includes products grown at the UW Farm, a 1.5-acre student-powered urban farm on the Seattle campus.University of Washington

The University of Washington’s Seattle campus saved more than 5 tons of food from being thrown away in 2020, preventing unnecessary waste and helping feed people in the community who struggle with food security.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the achievement by selecting the UW for a regional award in the 2021 Food Recovery Challenge. The award is given to select institutions and businesses that voluntarily set data-driven goals, implement targeted strategies to reduce wasted food in their operations, and then report the results to the EPA. The UW is recognized as a national leader for its deep commitment to sustainability on its campuses and in the community. UW’s Seattle campus recovered 10,720 pounds of food in 2020 that would have otherwise been wasted, a 13% increase over 2019 and a 26% increase from 2018.

The success comes from the UW’s food recovery efforts across dining facilities, the UW Farm the UW Food Pantry, and its partnership with Food Lifeline. UW Housing and Food Services works with local food banks, including the one on campus, to divert excess food purchased or overproduced at dining facilities.

The programs also support the UW’s waste reduction goal under the Sustainability Action Plan. Working to minimize food waste has been a major part of the efforts toward reaching our goal of reducing the amount of waste generated 10 percent by 2025.