Food: Too Good to Waste!

Food is too good to waste! 

We often do not realize the amount of food that is thrown away every day. In 2013 in the U.S., we disposed of over 35 million tons of spoiled and leftover food. This food ends up in landfills and produces methane and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

But the news is not all bad! With a little effort and planning, we can significantly cut down the amount of food waste and create economic, social and environmental benefits. 

The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has created a food recovery strategy to help us do so. It includes 5 simple steps in the following order: Source reduction, feeding the hungry, feeding animals, composting and finally landfilling what cannot be used.

Food Donation FAQs / Donaciones de Comida Hechos


Click on the pyramid below for additional information from the EPA.


The process of food waste reduction is easy if we all do our part

San Diego Food Waste Recovery Guide 



The three steps are easy: Reduction, Donation and Processing.

Reduce: The best way to cut down food waste is to reduce the volume of food disposed. This can be done by tracking where and how food is wasted, reducing the number of menu items and portion sizes, providing self-serve options, discounting products that are close to their expiration date and using proper food storage techniques.  

A National Perspective on Food Waste Reduction

Donate: Donating good quality food keeps it out of the landfill and puts it on the plates of those who need it. Contact one of the organizations below or start your own food donation program. Not only are you diverting food waste, but also helping those in need. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects food donors from civil and criminal liability should the donated product cause any harm to the recipient.

How to Donate:

            USDA Food Donation Information

            Food Donation Guide for Businesses in San Diego County

            A Safe Food Handling for Donation Checklist and Donation Record Form for San Diego County 

Where to Donate: 

Feeding San Diego Food Donations

San Diego Food Bank - Donate Food 

Donate through Gleaning Groups: You can donate the food from your backyard trees or orchard. Gleaning groups will collect the fruit and even pick it for you. One gleaning organization also collects food from restaurants and grocery stores (Senior Gleaners). Residents of the Poway/ Rancho Bernardo/ Rancho Penasquitos area are invited to donate extra backyard produce at sites set up by the Backyard Produce Project. See the site below for more about local gleaners.

San Diego Gleaners -

Compost: Spoiled and leftover food is perfect for composting. It provides the nutrients needed to form a balanced compost pile. Instead of sending this waste to the landfill, convert it to compost right in your own backyard! Visit the links below for additional information on composting and composting seminars in the area!

County of San Diego Composting Information

Free Composting Workshops and Information

Discounted Compost Bins

EPA Composting Guide

Local Links: Visit the links below for additional local resources

San Diego Food System Alliance - Wasted Food Prevention & Recovery Working Group

Feeding San Diego

San Diego Food Bank

San Diego North County Alliance


Successful Recycling Case Study - Jimbo's Naturally Grocers

Food Waste Prevention & Donation Newsletter (2018-2019)


Additional Resources from Save the Food:

Fall and Winter Produce Storage Guide

Spring and Summer Produce Storage Guide

Deciphering Date Labels on Products

"Eat Me First" Fridge Storage Sign

Tips for Stocking the Refrigerator

Smart Shopping Guidelines

Tips for Meal Planning

Tips to Fight Food Waste

Click on a Food Item Below to Learn

Food Saving and Storage Techniques

Link to Handout