Franklin and Marshal a Shining Example of PERC Food Recovery Challenge
The Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, more commonly referred to as PERC, has teamed up with EPA and the food services company Sodexo in a project called the Food Recovery Challenge. The program includes 22 schools and over 100,000 students have been impacted by the program, according to PERC’s website www.pagreencolleges.org.
One of PERC’s leading schools in the Food Recovery Challenge is Franklin and Marshall College. The Sustainability Coordinator at Franklin and Marshall College, Tom Simpson, talked about the school’s food recovery challenge strategy. Simpson explained that the school focuses on composting both pre and post consumption waste. He also talked about how the school uses disposable plates and utensils. Simpson said that the school has a contract with a trucking company who collects the waste from dumpsters on campus and takes the waste to a compost farm.
Franklin and Marshall began their involvement in the Food Recovery Challenge almost six years ago, Simpson explained. He continued by saying that since there was an issue with finding a trucking company Franklin and Marshall no longer worked with the company they originally found. Simpson said that Franklin and Marshall began their second attempt with the Food Recovery Challenge about two and half years ago.
In 2015 Franklin and Marshall composted 94 tons of waste compared to the 73 tons of waste they composted in 2014. Simpson said that he hopes to top the 2015 mark this year. Simpson also said that he plans to extend the Food Recovery Challenge to different areas on campus.
“We hope to extend where we compost to more events where we weren’t before,” Simpson said.
Simpson believes that the Food Recovery Challenge benefits the school and local community because people will not be throwing away the trash, which in this case is incinerated. In addition, Simpson explains that the program does not cost much more money than throwing trash away. Simpson said that composting food waste creates a useful product that is being used in fields and gardens on campus.
Luke Wolfgang, who works for the EPA and is in charge of the Food Recovery Challenge in the Mid-Atlantic region, talked about how he gets more people involved in the Pennsylvania Food Recovery Challenge.
“We reach out to schools, businesses, and organizations through networking, endorsements, and working with composting organizations,” Wolfgang said.
Wolfgang explained that all the EPA managers are part of a work group that meets biweekly. He continued by saying that the group coordinates strategies that other offices have.
Wolfgang said that he wants to improve the data collection for the Food Recovery Challenge and make it more streamlined. He explained that the date collection system needs to improve to include more universities, businesses, grocery stores, and institutions.