The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded special recognition in April to the City of Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Prison Systems innovative food recovery achievements. The prison system composted 1.35 tons of wasted food each day and saved the city $31,000 a year in landfill fees.
“The Philadelphia Prison System sets a tremendous example on using innovation to reduce food waste,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Businesses and communities across America are taking positive steps to address the food waste challenge, and they’re saving money, helping the environment, and feeding hungry people in the process.”
Not only was the wasted food composted, the compost was then used for urban gardening onsite. The program gives inmates hands-on job training in horticulture and urban gardening. The Orchard Program, the prison’s garden, is located on the property.
The city participated in the 2015 EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, along with more than 800 governments, businesses, and organizations across the county. The challenge required entities to divert food waste from entering landfills or incinerators through a variety of innovative actions. The Food Recovery Challenge diverted almost 606,000 tons of food waste in 2014, of which 88,600 tons was donated to people in need.