UMass Dartmouth named EPA’s 2018 WasteWise Partner of the Year

Jun 27, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth as the "College/University Partner of the Year" for the 2018 national WasteWise awards.

UMass Dartmouth’s Dining Services were recognized for achievements in the institution's sustainability efforts, including reducing their food waste in 2017.

The Dining Services team utilizes EPA's "Food Recovery Hierarchy" in its effort to reduce food waste, beginning with proper management of purchasing and food production to minimize leftovers.

Dining Services also donates unsold, prepared packaged foods weekly during the school year to local liturgical ministries serving the homeless.

In 2017, Dining Services unveiled a new program called “Meals with Dignity,” in which student volunteers work with the chef to deliver meals made with healthy dining hall leftovers to the on-campus food pantry.

According to the EPA, these two efforts have significantly helped fight local food insecurity. The donation programs are the most impactful efforts on campus.

"Working collaboratively with students and with other departments within the University has helped us to make successful strides in our sustainability achievements on campus," said Steven O'Riley, Chartwells Dining Resident District Manager at UMass Dartmouth.

EPA's WasteWise program encourages organizations and businesses to achieve sustainability in their practices and to reduce industrial waste.

Participants in the program work to prevent and divert waste that would otherwise be incinerated or sent to landfills.

Nationwide, the efforts by UMass Dartmouth and the other nine national awardees collectively prevented and diverted over 356,000 tons of waste from entering landfills and saved the organizations over $19.6 million in avoided landfill fees.

"For more than two decades, EPA's WasteWise program has helped organizations and businesses conserve resources and save money," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. "Our 2018 winners show that keeping valuable materials out of the trash is a win-win for their bottom lines and the environment."

"EPA New England is proud to recognize UMass Dartmouth for their leadership in sustainability, waste reduction and diversion, and environmental stewardship," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. 

"Sustainability-focused organizations help to increase awareness and knowledge about waste issues, and they provide a great example for other organizations to improve their practices and help improve our environment."