More than 40% of food goes uneaten in the U.S. every year. That’s not just bad news for our trash cans—that’s a problem for our environment and our wallets. Getting food to our tables eats up 10% of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50% of U.S. land, and swallows 80% of freshwater consumed in the United States. Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, more than 20 pounds of food per person per year.
The numbers are astonishing, but in many cases the solutions are simple and provide a myriad of environmental, economic and social benefits. The best solutions start first with feeding people, then animals, and then food composting and energy projects.
Use these great tools to tackle food waste through many effective approaches:
Reduce Food Waste at Households
- Love Food Hate Waste: This flagship food waste campaign based out of the UK has great messaging about individual behavior change and resources to help you plan your meals, shop smarter, and share recipes for leftovers. The campaign is centered around saving money first and the environmental impact second.
- Partners Website: This site offers downloads of all educational materials and campaign resources like how to run a food waste week; it also includes free training.
- EPA Too Good To Waste: This pilot EPA program for local communities educates citizens about food waste and how to take action at home. It includes a community presentation, messaging themes, shopping list, food storage guide, and measurement graphics to track food waste.
Reduce Food Waste at Businesses
- EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge: This resource offers tools to help businesses measure, track and reduce food waste at large corporations, hospitals, universities, restaurants and other businesses that serve large numbers of meals per day. It features several success stories that promote saving money, as well as reducing waste.
- Rock and Wrap It Up: This non-profit organization works with music bands, sports stadiums, hotels, and other venues to donate prepared but uneaten food to those in need.
- Best Practices for Donating Food: Use this guide to figure out incentives, liabilities, transportation, food storage, nonprofit agreements and much more.
Start a Food Rescue Organization
- Food Rescue Alliance: This is a collaborative effort between food rescue organizations to provide peer-to-peer learning, technical assistance and other tools, including a guidebook that walks you through the steps of starting a bike-powered food rescue.
Partner with Local Religious Groups
- Food Steward Pledge: Pledge to become an EPA Food Steward and receive a toolkit of tips and resources on how your religious group can reduce wasted food and help others in your local community.
Recover Food Waste in your Community
- Curb to Compost Toolkit: Communities around the U.S. already collect grass clippings, leaves and branches from residents for composting. Get the help you need to add food waste to your existing composting program, including all the logistics and outreach you’ll need to make your new program a success
- Compostable Plastics Toolkit: Compostable plastics can increase the recovery of food waste from events, fast food restaurants, and other venues, but they come with their own composting challenges. Determine if compostable plastics are right for your program and use best practices to manage these materials.
More tools for you
Check the rest out of the tools we have for you here.