Food Waste

Californians throw away nearly 6 million tons of food scraps or food waste each year. This represents about 18 percent of all the material that goes to landfills. In order for California to reach its goal of 75% source reduction, recycling, and composting, food waste must be addressed. 

California's new Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling law requires businesses to recycle their organics waste. Everyone has a role in saving resources and wasting less food. Rather than throwing away excess food, find ways to manage it more thoughtfully, such as working with groups to ensure that it goes to disadvantaged people, and composting for soil restoration. To further educate the public about food waste, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Ad Council have initiated a food waste reduction campaign known as

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed the Food Recovery Hierarchy which prioritizes actions organizations can take to prevent and divert wasted food.

Source Reduction

Source Reduction in the amount of food purchased or generated is the first step to preventing food from becoming waste. Source reduction steps include making lists, tracking inventory, and buying less. Here are some websites that provide information on source reduction.

  • Further with Food provides comprehensive information about food loss and waste in the United States and about solutions dedicated to reducing it. This is a platform to find and share information about proven solutions and innovative new approaches to reduce the volume of surplus food generated, feed hungry people, and divert food and scraps to the highest beneficial use.      
  • is a partnership between the Ad Council & the Natural Resources Defense Council. is a national public service ad campaign to combat food waste.

San Diego Food Resources

How to Donate

The County of San Diego has prepared the following information for businesses that want to participate in a food donation program:

Where to Donate