EPA Recognizes UMass-Amherst for Environmental Stewardship
On November 15th, America Recycles Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored New England Council member University of Massachusetts-Amherst for its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and promoting sustainable food practices. According to the EPA, food comprises the second greatest volume of waste generated in the United States and releases greenhouse gasses while decomposing in landfills. The EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge asked participants to decrease the amount of food they purchase that ultimately ends up as waste in landfills and to divert the surplus to be used more productively. These productive uses range from feeding the hungry to composting as a means to improve environmental quality.
UMass Amherst was one of the EPA’s nine National 2013 honorees for their innovative approach for embedding a robust sustainable food system into their institutional management practices. The University took many steps to minimize and mitigate the negative effects their student body and faculty have on the environment. They introduced tray-less dining that encourages less resource intensive eating. In over twenty on-campus eateries, they made all of the “to-go” containers and silverware compostable as another way to encourage recycling. By the end of 2014, UMass Amherst has pledged to have the largest anaerobic digestion facilities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that will produce energy from biogas. Through its actions, the University has demonstrated its commitment to behaving as a responsible environmental steward that strives to minimize its impact on the planet.
In addition to the national recognition bestowed upon UMass, the EPA provided regional honors to 12 others in New England, including Council members Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Boston Red Sox, Harvard University, Keene State College, and Suffolk University. The New England Council congratulates these members for this prestigious distinctions.