Americans throw away 25 percent of all their food purchases!
Whether it’s moldy cheese, limp celery or those long lost leftovers in the back of the fridge, chances are you’ve wasted food this week. You’re not alone. Food waste is a growing problem with profound financial and environmental impacts. Food waste refers to edible food that is not eaten for one reason or another. Food scraps such as banana peels, apple cores and bones are not included – they should be composted.
Food Waste Facts
Business: Tips to Reduce Food Waste & Improve Your Bottom Line
Local Food Donation Options
Get Smart: See How Much Food (And Money!) You're Really Throwing Away
Smart Shopping: Buy What You Need
Smart Storage: Keep Fruits And Vegetables Fresh
Smart Prep: Prep Now, Eat Later
Smart Saving: Eat What You Buy
Food is wasted when we buy more than we need, store it incorrectly, throw away leftovers and cook too much. When we throw away food, we also waste all the water and energy used to produce, package and transport food from the farm to our plates. This waste creates significant environmental impacts and is costly to family budgets.
These numbers are for our whole food system from farms, processors, retailers and households.
Reducing food waste is an easy way to trim your grocery bills and reduce your environmental footprint. By making small shifts in how you shop, prepare and store food, you can keep this valuable resource from going to waste.
Here's a nice overview of the environmental footprint of food wastage*, courtesy of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
*Note: 'Wastage' includes both waste and loss. All the food produced but not eaten, globally.
Here's a good infographic about US Food Waste from A to Z Solutions. It helps us understand the enormity of the issue, but also gives us 8 solutions that we can easily do - so we can be part of the solution.
US EPA's Background Research Report
NRDC Report On Food Waste
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Wasted food costs the commercial food service industry roughly $100 billion annually, but they aren’t the only businesses that create food waste. All businesses can benefit by reducing their food waste. It can save money by reducing not only disposal costs but also over-purchasing, labor, and energy costs. Additionally, you can receive tax benefits from donating wholesome, edible food to food banks or food rescue organizations.
We often do not realize how much food we waste at our businesses. Check out our list of common strategies to figure out where food waste happens at your business and how to avoid it.
Here is a general checklist that identifies common strategies any business can use to reduce wasted food and packaging. Choose strategies based on the opportunities that exist at your facility. Tracking food waste is always the first step.
Help the community, the environment and your bottom line at the same time. If you do have excess food, do not throw it away (that includes the compost bin). Help feed the hungry - 96,000 low-income adults in Santa Clara County are estimated to be food insecure. Donating food not only keeps food out of landfills, it also feeds those in need. You may even get tax benefits!
Food Donation Connection
Food Donation Connection manages food donation programs for food service companies including restaurants, airports, college campuses and more. Program services include linking donor locations with food rescue groups or those feeding the needy, assisting in the development of safe food handling standards, tax valuation, electronic donation tracking and reporting, and ongoing monitoring and follow-up to ensure program implementation and success.
Peninsula Food Runners
Peninsula Food Runner is an organization dedicated to repressing hunger by diverting good food to those in need and thus, reducing the waste of food in the San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. They pick up excess food for free from restaurants, caterers, bakeries, hospitals, event planners, corporate cafeterias, and hotels, to be delivered to those in shelters, feeding programs, and 100% affordable housing where food insecurities and hunger are most common.
Ecumenical Hunger Program
2411 Pulgas Ave, East Palo Alto
Ecumenical Hunger Program prepares and serves hot meals and provides boxes of food to needy individuals and families to meet basic nutritional needs.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
The Food Bank mobilizes individuals, companies, and community partners to connect people to the nutritious food they need. Nearly half of the food distributed is fresh produce.
Not all food waste is edible, however food scraps and spoiled food do not belong in the landfill either. GreenWaste of Palo Alto offers compostables collection service. GreenWaste Environmental Outreach Coordinators are available to assist you in starting up and/or improving your program (waste stream evaluation, best-management practices, trainings, education/outreach items). Contact GreenWaste at (650) 493-4894 or PAcustomerservice@greenwaste.com to sign up for compost service and save money on disposal.
Research shows that nearly everyone wastes more food than they think they do. The first step to reducing food waste and creating lasting awareness is to actually measure how much food you’re throwing away. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has created the Food: Too Good to Waste Challenge to help you figure out how much food is really going to waste in your home and what you can do to waste less.
Take the Challenge: Keep good food from going to waste!
Planning is key to avoiding wasted food. By making a list with weekly meals in mind, you can save money, time and may eat healthier food. If you buy no more than what you expect to use, you will be more likely to keep it fresh and use it all.
We waste fresh fruits and vegetables most often. We usually overbuy or don’t use them in time. By storing fruits and vegetables for maximum freshness, they’ll taste better and last longer, helping you to eat more of them. Storage tips:
|Wise Food Storage & Prep - Tips to make your food last longer
Check out this great video from King County, Washington
Prepare perishable foods soon after shopping. You’ll make it easier to whip up meals later in the week, saving time, effort and money.
Be mindful of old ingredients and leftovers you need to use up. You’ll waste less and may even find a new favorite dish in the process.
|Fabulous Dishes, No Shopping Required - Tips to make from what you have on hand
Check out this great video from King County, Washington