Learn More About Food Waste

Below is a collection of food waste facts, reports, websites, toolkits, and more to help you learn more about food waste and what we can do about it.

Table of Contents

Food Waste Overview
Different Strategies of Food Recovery
Food Recovery/Waste Reports and Guides

Food Waste Overview

So what’s the issue?

  • About 1/3 of all food ($161 billion) in the U.S. is not eaten
    • 21% of trash is landfills is food
    • 20% of methane gas comes from organics in landfills
    • Methane is a greenhouse gas 20-30x more potent than carbon dioxide
  • 1 in 9 households in DC experience food insecurity
  • A family of 4 spends $1500 a year on food they don’t eat
  • Households are responsible for half of all food waste in the U.S.

Back to Top

Different Strategies of Food Recovery


Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) Food Recovery Hierarchy

(focused more on decentralized local strategies)

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 8.39.02 PM.png

Back to Top

Food Recovery/Waste Reports

WASTED: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill (Second Edition of NRDC’s Original 2012 Report) (NRDC, August 2017)

A Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20 Percent (ReFED, March 2016)

The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste, A Report on Behalf of Champions 12.3 (Champions 12.3, March 2017)

The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America (Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, September 2013)

The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States (USDA, 2014)


Further with Food: Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions

Save The Food NRDC and the Ad Council created this campaign to reduce household food waste; resources include out-of-home materials such as posters, social media resources, and printable materials to use at home.

EPA Sustainable Management of Food

Food Waste Policy Finder

Donation & Food Rescue

The Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996
Federal liability protection for anyone donating food in good faith to a 501c3 non profit.

Federal Business Tax Incentives for Food Donations Guide
This is a guide on how to receive federal tax incentives for businesses donating food.

Don’t Waste, Donate – Enhancing Food Donations Through Federal Policy (Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and NRDC, March 2017)

Modeling the Potential to Increase Food Rescue: Denver, New York City, and Nashville (NRDC, October 2017)

Feeding Animals

Leftovers for Livestock: A Legal Guide for Using Food Scraps as Animal Feed (Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and University of Arkansas School of Law Food Recovery Project, Augusts 2016)


Composting Collaborative Resource Library

State of Composting in the US: What, Why, Where and How (Institute for Local Self-Reliance, July 2014)

The State of Organics Recycling in the U.S. (BioCycle, October 2017)

Toolkits & Action Guides

Keeping Food Out of the Landfill: Policy Ideas for States and Localities (Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, October 2016) This toolkit provides information on eight different policy areas that states and localities can consider as they ramp up efforts to reduce food waste.

Food: Too Good to Waste Implementation Guide and Toolkit (U.S. EPA, 2016) This toolkit is for communities who want to help households reduce their food waste.

ReFED Action Guides for Retail, Restaurant, Food Service and Foundation leaders (ReFED, January 2018)

Fighting Food Waste in Hotels (World Wildlife Fund, November 2017)

Back to Top