You can reduce your personal food
waste in five steps:

1. Plan your meals before you grocery shop.

2. Make a detailed shopping list and stick to it!

3. Serve reasonable sized portions.

4. Save your leftovers.

5. Eat those leftovers!

Also, try to use what you already have in your fridge and cupboard. This site is a handy resource making do with what ya got.

Outside the Home:

Contact America’s Second Harvest at 1-800-771-2303 for information on food recovery organizations in your area. Your time or money would be greatly appreciated. For gleaning information, contact The Society of St. Andrew‘s national office at 1-800-333-4597.


Navigate over to The Hunger Site daily to help erase hunger with one click.

Businesses: For restaurants and grocery stores interested in donating food, contact Food Donation Connection at 1-800-831-8161. They link donors with food recovery organizations.


  1. Posted April 28, 2007 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    What a great article you wrote for Friday’s, April 27th, Charlotte Observer and what a wonderful journey you have started. If you take time to visit, you’ll read about a program I started in July of 2005 of collecting leftover food from departing vacationers at Holden Beach NC. If interested in further information, please contact me at

    And thank you for what you do to stop the terrible waste in this great country of ours.

    All the best.

    Bill Spier

  2. Tanya Nojiri
    Posted October 3, 2007 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Hello I am all for reducing waste, especially if it can go towards a better cause. I’m concerned because I attend a university and asked the lunch lady where all the food goes at the end of the day (non-touched), and she said they throw it away. I was appauled and I really want to do something about it. I know I’m just a student and there are many laws against giving food away to shelters and such, but is there anything I can do about this? Please let me know! My university is located in California.

    Thank you,

  3. Jonathan
    Posted October 4, 2007 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Hey Tanya. Right on!
    If the food hasn’t been out on an open, self-serve buffet, it can be donated. I would contact the local food recovery group or food shelter to see if they’d be willing to pick up the excess food. Then approach the dining services people and say you have a solution that will save them money (in trash pickup fees) while feeding hungry people.

    To find a local food recovery agency, call America’s Second Harvest or Food Donation Connection.

    There are no laws against giving food away to shelters. In fact, there’s a law protecting anyone who donates food from liability suits.

    E-mail me (wastedfood at gmail) with any questions or to let me know how it’s going.

  4. Mary
    Posted November 8, 2007 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on getting my university involved in the food composting program. I think this program is a wonderful way to reduce food waste in our landfills and it is being used for a better cause. If anyone has started the program at their local school or university, please help me to get my university involved.


  5. Posted April 6, 2008 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jonathan.

    Thanks so much for your keen interest in the issue, and for compiling so many great (and shocking) facts for us to see.

    We have just linked your site to our google groups page, and I have used one of your public photos as an illustration… Hope you don’t mind. We are a small group of sustainability minded people in a small rural area.(Queensland, Australia) Our concerns are varied; in a country area with low income levels, being sustainable seems too hard for many. We do have lots of farmers in our region who have to plough excess crops into the paddock and we would like to figure out a way to utilise that for low income families. A long and drawn out feasibility study is underway….


  6. Posted May 19, 2008 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I made a film about food waste after writing a longer article about waste, hunger and composting  ( a couple of years ago.
    Please check the 8-minute version out, and feel free to post it on your site!

  7. Posted May 19, 2008 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Many countries do not have storage space for crops or for food that is ready to sell, especially in the Soviet bloc and China bloc. In Kazakhstan, for instance, farms have no storage. There are small buildings for tractors. A horse farm I was at had one long horse barn but little else for the farm in terms of storage.

  8. Carole Goldsmith
    Posted May 24, 2008 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Here in Israel, “Table to Table” runs a service which includes gleaning from fields, collecting leftover food from banqueting halls (food recovery), and providing sandwiches for school lunches for poor children.

  9. Tracy Jordan
    Posted January 11, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Hello. As a single, childless adult, living alone, the greatest cause that leads to my wasting food is that food in the US is greatly sold in packaging and quantities that are too great for me to use in a timely manner. The food turns bad; I have to throw it out. I’ve lived on a few other continents and there, it was much easier to buy a handful of something, a pinch of something, half of a cup of something, including shampoo, and other non-food products. People were able to bring their own jars or other containers and purchase as much or as little of a “loose” product as they needed. A recent supermarket in my state, NJ, just eliminated the “bin” aisle, where cereal, candy, nuts, rice, powders, etc., were available by any weight. They claimed “unsanitary conditions.” I eat out for business purposes, so that’s enough for me and I cook a wide variety of things at home. So, I would put forth that we are in big trouble even prior to the second step, listed as number two, on your tips to reduce food waste. I can plan (I know exactly what I need to make Beef Burgandy) and I do make a “detailed” shopping lists(detailed means item and amount, right?) but there is nowhere (virtually) for me to go to buy what would be my “true quanity” detailed grocery listed items: 20 grapes, two tablespoons of cilantro, one teaspoon of red vinegar, a handful of ground veal or half a cup of ketchup. For millions like me, food is not available for purchase at the supermarkets in the reduced quantities we need in the first place. Thank you for your all of efforts and keep up the good work. Sincerely, Tracy Jordan

  10. Posted March 24, 2009 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    This is a great source of information!

  11. Posted March 31, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    What a great site.

    Did you know the world’s premier solution for on-site recycling of food waste is hitting America this year?

    Reduces CO2 emissions from waste collections (and reduces money too!), reduces methane emissions from landfill AND generates compost in 14 days!.

    Thought you might be interested as a Food Waste Lamenter…pass the fork…nom nom nom!

  12. Brianne
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    This is a very inspirational site. I am a highschool student currently working on a project about hunger, and was shocked to see the number comparison between 55% of people in africa suffering from malnutrition and over 30% of food in my home city of Toronto being wasted. I was so glad to see the resources on this website of ways to take action against wastefulness. I will definetly bring this issue and its shocking facts up in converstion with my fellow classmates, as i am sure that they, like me, did not know the wastefullness that takes place in their own country.

    Thank you,

  13. Posted October 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Permalink


    My name is Jackie, and I’m the ambassador for Here’s Life Inner City NYC.

    We’re an urban ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, Intl., dedicated to equipping churches to provide help and hope to the poverty-stricken in their communities. This year we’re trying to provide 7,000 families in the New York Metro area with a “Box of Love”. This is a Thanksgiving feast for a family of six, plus scriptures.

    By “Dining In”, you are able to donate what you would otherwise spend eating out. We post daily recipes on Facebook and Twitter.

    Dine In, and donate what you save to give a Box of Love to a family of 6 this Thanksgiving.

    The deadline to receive donations is Nov. 4th!

    To learn more, click

    God Bless and Thank-you!
    Jackie (For HLIC NYC)

  14. Jackie
    Posted November 2, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink


    In regards to my previous post, the last day to receive donations to feed starving families in the entire New York metro area for Thanksgiving is November 4th…only 2 days away!!

    Please help us spread the word.

    Jackie (for HLIC NYC)

    Twitter: HLIC NYC
    Facebook: HLIC NYC

  15. Trevia
    Posted December 24, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to send a huge thanks for this website and addressing the huge problem of food waste. Sustainability issues and especially waste of perfectly good food have always been problems that I’ve worried about personally, but had no idea of where to start or how to get involved. I cringe at all of the waste that goes on in privileged communities and countries, and sites like these provide the impetus for change.

    Thanks again!!!

  16. YouTube's Iggyocracy
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Frozen & Vaccuum Packaged food is the only way to go to snap society out of it’s incredibly multi-wasteful stupidity. Yes, our assembly line bulk handling has always been staring us right in the face to dramatically reducing ALL waste! I’ve been on a quite acceptable experiment diet of Schwan’s for 8-years, breakfast, lunch & dinner from coffee & juice to bread & ice cream. I haven’t wasted ANY fuel or time on shopping, cooking or preparation in all that time & it’s better than what most people or restaurants dump on a plate. I have absolutely NO food waste, NO stinky garbage (trash goes out once a month & 99% is recycled, a 40-gallon trash can – non-crushed), NO spices or condiments stocked, NO hour or more of cooking energy waste, NO everyone only gets what Mom made tonight, NO deathly poor food handling, NO water waste, NO brick & mortar wasteful store & can be the restaurant & drive-thru of the future. EVERYTHING is harmful GMO, stop playing their game of keep the idiocy & get processed food replaced with heirloom natural food! You are the problem & solution!

  17. Diver Danny
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Just listened to your Leonard Lopate interview and noticed that you seemed to be avoiding some obvious truth’s, I’m guessing, in the interest of keeping the feather’s of prospectively helpful store manager’s, unruffled.

    One particular instance was in reference to the concept of bargain vegetables in supermarkets and the immovable resistance that idea is met with. You left the question to bewilderment without touching upon the obvious: The store’s GM’s want to avoid, at all costs, a discount culture where products not easily differentiated from one another are sold in two price tiers.

    Empathy would suggest that the GM’s are thinking of the raft of customer interaction problems this can create (and the paid time wasted dealing with the hassle) and then, feel that the practice will also put the store’s ‘gourmet’ status in jeopardy.

    Packaged, prepared foods? These are also thrown away, first, to protect the prestige of the brand (I’m betting Whole Foods would be unhappy to have their logo seen daily at soup kitchen’s near their best customers) and second, because even store employee’s have to pay to take them (or risk being fired for ‘stealing’). I’ve seen firsthand, trash bag upon bag of these foods utterly destroyed by bitter employee’s who’re of the ‘If I can’t have it, no way anybody get’s it free’ mindset and it’s shameful. This even at stores that collect money at the register for City Harvest(!).

    I bring this stuff up not to inspire bad feelings but to point out that one critically important element of your mission is to reform some cultural hypocrisy (and move the bar on some societal + business taboo’s). I can’t see how you’ll gain fundamental change without addressing this stuff more directly.

  18. Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for listening. I don’t think we disagree on much. I’m pretty critical of supermarkets that don’t lift a finger to donate foods that could easily be salvaged.

    It sounds like you’re taking issue with some things that went unsaid, not with what I actually said. If that’s the case, I’ll say this: It’s a radio interview that moves quickly and you always have about three things you’d like to say, but just don’t have enough time. I’ll stand by my book as “addressing this stuff” directly. I’d love to hear your feedback on it if/when you read it. Thanks for fighting the good fight.

  19. Marie
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jonathan,
    I saw the link above for a short 8 minute film on food waste. However, I would love to get my school more engaged in tackling food waste. Perhaps a film or a longer news story could be shown to our student body and would help to get kids more emotionally engaged. Do you have any recommendations for a high school audience? Also, do you ever do speaking engagements at high schools? It might be of interest, as our theme this year is on justice.

  20. Posted February 5, 2011 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Hey Jonathan, I am looking forward to meeting you at the Green Matters Conference in MD on Feb 25. I spoke to you when you were a guest on Mario’s Bosquez’s show. Our non-profit organization, growingSOUL, teaches Zero-Waste food production with a small farm co-op and we run a compostables pick-up service to close the gap in the loop of our local food system. We collect food scraps from the DC area restaurants, food banks, and the general population and turns it into soil we share with those who grow food for the foodbank. In one year we have rescued over 100 tons of vital nutrients and have made enough soil to create several acres of raised beds. In our community, they do not encourage people to compost in their yards, so we offer them compost buckets they can fill and bring to any farmers market where we collect it. We also teach how to make simple worm bins to fit under a kitchen sink. I understand we shouldn’t waste food in the first place, but we need to empower people as well about how important and SIMPLE it is to return expired food back to the earth to enrich our soils.

  21. MT
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I just heard you on a radio interview and have totally believed and lived the concept of not wasting in general. Growing up in a household and that saved and reused margarine plastic containers and almost anything else washable (including reusing ziploc-type baggies) I find it hard to accept that more can’t be done to reduce, reuse and recycle to avoid throwing whatever items away before its time. I work for the airline industry onboard and as in probably any food service business see so much waste at work on each and every flight. Times this by thousands of flights daily in the US alone and you can imagine how much it adds up to. It’s been only recently that we began recycling the aluminum and glass, but I can see so many other areas that could benefit from a bit of awareness and concern. Part of the problem in throwing out much of the food and supplies used onboard is the concern for food safety, but I was also told by our company that all trash and onboard food items from international flights are thrown out (no recycling of metals at all) due to health/disease precautions. I try to use supplies wisely when at work, but many times you can find much waste in throwing unused plastic/hot cups, packaged sugar, milk, orange juice, etc. when there’s a change of galleys after a flight. I have not read your book, but was wondering if you have investigated the possibility of affecting the airline industry and if you can recommend things that I can do to perhaps work on changing policy.

  22. Rene Gomez
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I am looking for a food rescue operation in the North Texas area.

  23. Posted February 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink


  24. Posted April 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Great film, compelling and mysterious story that keeps you guessing till the very last scene and after

  25. Posted May 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink


  26. Posted June 1, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

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  27. Posted April 13, 2013 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    You can certainly see your expertise in the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart. “Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at.” by Jimmy Demaret.

  28. Posted June 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

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