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Each month in the US, more than 20 pounds of food per person is disposed of in landfills. Additionally, all the fertilizer, fuel, and hard work that went into growing this food are wasted too.

    Food Waste 5


Wasted food consumes many other resources including: 

  • 80% of all freshwater used in the United States

  • 50% of the land

  • 10% of the total U.S. energy budget

And when wasted food is buried in the landfill, it generates methane pollution.



The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed the Food Recovery Hierarchy which prioritizes actions organizations can take to prevent and divert wasted food. The hierarchy includes five levels and is in the order of preference:


Food Hierarchy

 The top levels of the hierarchy are most preferred since they create greater benefits for the environment, society and economy. To find out more information on the tiers of the hierarchy, please click on the following links;

Source Reduction   Feed Hungry People Feed Animals
 Industrial Uses  Composting  Landfill


Source Reduction

Source Reduction in the amount of food purchased or generated is the first step to prevent food from becoming waste. Source reduction steps include making lists, tracking inventory, and buying less. Here are a few 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 virtual resource center offers businesses, government entities, investors, NGOs, academics, and individuals the ability to find and share information about proven solutions and innovative new approaches to reduce the volume of surplus food.

Leanpath has been helping businesses with food service operations to reduce food waste while providing both financial and environmental sustainability.

Save the is a partnership between the Ad Council & the Natural Resources Defense Council. Save the is a national public service ad campaign to combat food waste.

Watch The Extraordinary Life and Times of a Strawberry

San Diego Food System Alliance

The City of Chula Vista participates in the Save the Food San Diego County wide public service campaign. For more information about San Diego Food System Alliance, visit

Environmental Protection Agency

Both businesses and individuals can learn to effectively prevent the flow of wasted food by taking simple steps such as making grocery lists, inventorying supplies, and buying less. For more information, visit Source Reduction (EPA)


Feed Hungry People

Our food was grown to provide nutrition to people. By collecting unspoiled, healthy food and donating to neighborhood food pantry, you can help feed the more than 485,000 - nearly 1 in 6 people - (170,000 children - nearly 1 in 4) in San Diego that don’t always have enough food to eat.

How to Donate:

 USDA List of National Donation Organizations and Laws

 Food Donation Guide for Businesses in San Diego County

 A Safe Food Handling for Donation Checklist for San Diego County

Where to Donate:

Feeding San Diego Food Donations

San Diego Food Bank - Donate Food 

Southwestern College "Jag" Kitchen


Recovery of Surplus Food:

Gleaning groups gather produce that is destined to be wasted, from trees, fields, and farmers markets. The produce is then donated to local food pantries.

San Diego Gleaning group directory:

Gleaning in Chula Vista and the south bay community:

Harvest Crops is based in Lemon Grove. Harvest CROPS organizes teams of volunteers to pick fruit from backyards and orchards throughout San Diego County.

Senior Gleaners is based in East & South County. Volunteers, ages 55 and older, glean surplus food from fields, groves, backyards. Senior Gleaners also collects surplus food from stores and restaurants.

Chula Vista Food Recovery Group

Collaboration between south bay food pantries with the goal of improving and expanding the recovery of surplus food. Meets the third Tuesday of the month. Meeting location varies.

For information contact or call 619-691-5122


Other Resources for donating:

2-1-1 San Diego:

Serving San Diego County, 2-1-1 San Diego connects you with community, health and disaster services through a free, 24/7 stigma-free phone service and searchable database. Simply dial 2-1-1 or search their online database.


Feed Animals

Donating food to animals can save farmers and companies’ money. There are farms in San Diego County that currently accept food waste such as brewery grains, food scraps, and bakery items.

Reduce Wasted Food by Feeding Animals (EPA)


Industrial Uses

Adding food waste to an anaerobic digester can provide a fuel source for vehicles and power generation. Rendering of meats and greases can also provide a fuel source and other products.

Learn more about anaerobic digestion (EPA).



Spoiled and leftover food waste is perfect for composting. The product of which contains the nutrients needed to create healthy soils. Instead of sending this waste to the landfill, convert it to compost right in your own backyard!

  Food Waste 2

City of Chula Vista's Backyard Composting Program

County of San Diego Composting Information

EPA's Composting Guide





Landfilling food waste takes up valuable land, pollutes the air, and can potentially contaminate groundwater. Landfilling is the last option for food waste.Landfill


Other Methods to Reduce Food Waste:

County of San Diego

Food Saving and Storage Techniques

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Learn about the USDA’s food waste reduction activities

National Restaurant Association's Conserve Program (Non-Government Organization)

The National Restaurant Association Conserve Program is here to show you how to operate your business efficiently and in more environmentally beneficial ways

The Ugly Fruit and Veg CampaignFood Waste 4

Approximately 40% of fruits and vegetables grown don’t make the cut for supermarkets on the basis of looking ugly. Jordan Figueiredo developed a website devoted to eliminate the practice of discarding food with minor imperfections.

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