Preventing Food from Reaching the Landfill

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

California’s new Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling law requires businesses to recycle their organic waste. This page provides more information on food waste management and examples of how various business groups and public entities are managing food waste.

Everyone has a role in saving resources and wasting less food. Creative food rescue projects like the UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign work to save healthy fruits and vegetables from becoming waste. 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

Food In Containers

Hotels and Restaurants

Information for restaurants on managing food scraps.

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Grocery List


Information for households on managing food scraps.

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Ladle Food


Information for colleges/universities and K-12 on managing food scraps.

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Game Food

Stadiums and Special Events

Information for stadiums, fairs, festivals, and catered events on managing food scraps.

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Hospital Tray With Food

Health Care Industry

Information for the health care industry on managing food scraps.

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Grocery Stores

Information for grocery stores on donating edible food to disadvantaged communities.

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US EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy

Ranks food donations to feed hungry people as a top priority to help reduce wasted food

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