Philadelphia prisons receive EPA award for reducing food waste

Philadelphia Prisons EPA Award
Photo credit Pat Loeb | KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Philadelphia prisons has received an award for a reason you might not expect. They were recognized for reducing food waste by using it as compost. 

The prisons diverted 44 tons of food waste from landfills in 2017. That's why the Environmental Protection Agency's Stacie Driscoll presented the department with the Food Recovery Challenge Award.

"We appreciate the inspiring efforts of all the inmates who have worked on composting of the prisons' food waste and have gone on to complete the training program," Driscoll said.

The composting is part of a larger vocational training program, in partnership with Temple University, that teaches urban land care. Prisons commissioner Blanche Carney says graduates get an industry-recognized certificate that helps them find jobs when they're released.

"And that's what the Prisons is committed to," Carney said, "re-entry programming that builds sustainability for lives of folks that have come into our custody."

Anthony Walker is a graduate. He does construction now but still uses what he learned.

"What they taught us there was just a good skill," he said. "Now when I do my garden, the garden comes out beautiful, just from taking the skills they gave and I apply it to my own garden."