Tackling Wasted Food This Season

The holiday season is right around the corner, and with that usually brings traditions centered around food. Whether it’s turkey, latkes, or hot cocoa, there’s quite a bit of surplus food that makes its way into the landfills around this time. A whopping 25% more trash is generated by households from November to January.

Tips to reduce wasted food in your home:

Prep Carefully

Try to get an accurate headcount and plan on what you’ll need. Leftovers are lovely (sharing is caring!), but there’s only so much cranberry sauce one freezer can hold! All Recipes has a handy Party Food Planner to help you with your calculations.

Get Scrappy

Those veggie peels and bones make for a lovely stock, so don’t toss them out! Squash and pumpkin seeds are delicious roasted, and you’d be surprised just how many things can be made into a tea! Check out our Food Scrap Ideas post for more ways to maximize your ingredients.

Donate Surplus

If you do have surplus food, find a local food donation center that will accept any extras you might have. This Food Rescue Locator from Sustainable America can help you find a center that will accept what you have.

Feed the Soil

Compost what you can’t use or donate. Check out our tips for composting at home.

For more tips, register for our webinar, Home for the Holidays: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint This Season!


Feeding Communities and the Soil Around the Country

CET has been a leader in the wasted food reduction and diversion movement for more than 20 years, implementing some of the first wasted food composting programs in the country, and contributing to effective public policy. We believe that better managing wasted food is critical in order to address climate change, feed more hungry people, and grow our economy. Here are some exciting highlights from around the country.

Map of where CET provides Wasted Food Solutions

We’re working across the country on Wasted Food Solutions. The dark green notates US States that have launched specific programming with our assistance. Learn more or contact us to partner!

Rhode Island: Composting Support Aquidneck Island

Healthy Soils Healthy Seas Rhode Island, a composting program assisted by CET, aims to inspire long-lasting environmentally responsible behavior necessary to improve ocean health. Compost can be used as a soil amendment for shoreline access erosion control and improving ecosystem services. Other collaborators include Black Earth Compost, Clean Ocean Access, and The Compost Plant. With support from 11th Hour Racing’s grant program, funded by The Schmidt Family Foundation, CET can provide even more wasted food assistance to many businesses in Rhode Island to successfully and cost-effectively implement strategies to address their wasted food.

New Jersey: Sustainable Organic Material Management Plan

The New Jersey Climate Alliance announced a Sustainable Organic Material Management Plan (SOMMP) to support the implementation of its recent Food Waste Recycling Law. This law requires large food waste generators of over 52 tons per year to recycle their food waste at an accessible facility. To support this ban, a workgroup of 80 voluntary stakeholders conducted a gap analysis of the state and then developed their SOMMPopens PDF file , a blueprint for best practices for action based on local barriers and opportunities. From organics education to food rescue apps, the committee offers 17 Core Opportunities For Action that will guide New Jersey’s path forward towards sustainable organic material management.

Minnesota: The Sioux Chef

Indigenous organizations, like The Sioux Chef’s recently opened Minnesota restaurant, Owamni, and their nonprofit, North American Traditional Atlantic Food Systems (NATIFS), promote sustainable food systems with every plate they serve, from low-waste kitchens to ingredients sourced locally from indigenous producers. Based in the Midwest, they work to educate and increase the accessibility of native foodways to everyone across Turtle Island and beyond.

Oregon: Metro Food Scraps Policy

The Metro Council’s Commercial Food Scrap Policyopens PDF file is requiring large food waste generators like grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals and K-12 schools to separate their food scraps from their landfill-destined waste. Food scraps make up around 18% of this region’s disposed waste, and more than half of it comes from businesses. By requiring businesses to recycle their organic waste, this policy will divert an estimated 100,000 tons of food scraps from landfills every year.

Rhode Island: School Food Waste Law

The Rhode Island School food waste lawopens PDF file will require all schools in the state, starting on January 1, 2022, to comply with the state’s Food Waste Ban to divert waste from landfills and promote the donation of nonperishable foods. Schools will need to conduct a waste audit every three years with the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC), which will provide individualized guidelines and strategies for reducing waste at each school. It also requires all Rhode Island schools to implement and use share tables and encourages selecting food service companies that recycle organic waste and purchase at least 10% of products locally.

Colorado: New EPA Funding to Support Efforts in Denver

Thanks to funding provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for EcoTechnology is tackling food waste in Denver, Colorado. We provide different Wasted Food Solutions according to the needs of local businesses. Contact us to learn more!

New York: A HORSE comes to Tusten

The town of Tusten recently installed a High-solids Organic-waste Recycling System with Electrical output (or HORSE) microdigester at their town barn, which will provide on-site generation of energy from food waste and similar organic materials from local businesses. The microdigester, and others like this one, is designed to scale down the cost of industrial anaerobic digestion. The HORSE will be fed by organic waste from Tusten restaurants and other businesses that have been receiving guidance from the Center for EcoTechnology on waste recovery and diversion.

Connecticut: Food Rescue Guide

The Center for EcoTechnology recently released Connecticut Food Donation Made Easy.opens PDF file The document provides resources and case studies to guide others to build new food rescue programs in a range of commercial settings, from schools to grocery stores. The document follows the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy model of prioritizing feeding hungry people first before other methods of organics recycling.