Coe College dining becomes Food Recovery Certified

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2015-12-21 11:11:55 - General

Food recovery certifiedIn recognition of its efforts to reduce food waste and fight hunger, Coe College dining has become Food Recovery Certified. Food Recovery Certified recognizes and rewards businesses and institutions for recovering their surplus, unused food and donating it to hunger-fighting nonprofits.

The mission of Food Recovery Certified is to shift the norm from food waste to food recovery. It is built around the philosophy that all food businesses and institutions should feed people, not landfills. Donating surplus food to those in need is one of the most impactful steps an organization can take to connect to its local community in order to be more sustainable and fight hunger.

Coe College Director of Dining Services and Sodexo Manager Tom Wieseler has been active in food recycling and environmental initiatives for many years. Thanks to his efforts, Coe Dining Services has been recycling or composting all food waste since 2005. Wieseler was recognized as the 2012 Iowa Recycling Association Recycler of the Year.

Specifically, excess Coe food is donated twice each week to support the Green Square Meals program in Cedar Rapids, which feeds approximately 150 people each weekday evening. Much of this food is comprised of fruits and vegetables, which add variety and nutritional value to the Green Square program. The Green Square site is managed by HACAP as part of Serve America.

"We are pleased to be recognized with this designation," said Wieseler. "Both Coe College and Sodexo are committed to minimizing food waste and recycling it to benefit others in our community."

In addition, Coe is one of six Iowa institutions participating in the EPA's Food Recovery Challenge, which "seeks to reduce the environmental impact of materials through their entire life cycle, including how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled, and disposed."

Food Recovery Certified recovers food from establishments at least once per month. Any food business including restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, hospitals, caterers, farms, farmers markets, and college dining halls can apply for certification. Food Recovery Certified serves as a third party to verify that food businesses have food recovery programs in place, and recognizes them for this achievement.

Food Recovery Certified is accredited by Food Recovery Network, which unites college students in recovering the surplus food that would otherwise be wasted from their campuses and donating it to those in need.

For more information on all of the environmental and sustainability initiatives at Coe, visit