As we take you down to earth, local universities want to do their part to limit how much food we throw out. From U. C. Santa Cruz to U. C. Santa Barbara, students will try and cut down on the 34 million tons of food thrown out nationwide.
This is all part of the Food Recovery Challenge, a national effort to reduce the amount of food wasted every year. The Environmental Protection Agency runs the project and now schools are getting on board. So far more than 460,000 students at 18 different schools plan to reduce food waste by 5%. Food makes up 25 percent of the material sent to landfills. That's more than any other category.
It's done by reducing unnecessary consumption plus donating more food to charities, composting and recycling. The EPA said when food scraps decompose, it becomes a significant source of methane contributing to greenhouse gases. So limiting the amount of food thrown away will reduce methane emissions.
U. C. Santa Barbara sends food scraps to Marborg Waste Management. The school has been involved in the project since 2010 and since then their residential dining services has reduced the amount of food wasted from 20% to 90%.
U. C. Santa Cruz's dining services have won awards at 9 different university dining locations from the City of Santa Cruz. Those awards are for composting, hosting waste reduction events throughout the year and leadership awards in energy and environmental design.