Food Waste Reduction for Businesses

Commercial kitchen

Consumers in the US spend approximately $200 billion a year producing over 50 million tons of food that will ultimately never be eaten, and another $10 million a year on food that is left unharvested or discarded for purely cosmetic reasons. Businesses and organizations can play an important role in reducing these numbers by implementing sensible, cost-saving measures to reduce unnecessary purchasing, and to limit waste in restaurants, grocery stores, and institutional kitchens.


To reduce the impacts of food waste, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Food Waste Reduction Hierarchy prioritizes food waste prevention and food rescue, or donation over recovery, like composting or anaerobic digestion. Preventing food waste before it occurs saves water, energy, and transportation costs associated with food production.

Food Waste Reduction Resources

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has developed comprehensive resources for restaurants, grocery stores, schools, and institutions as part of the ’Wasted Food, Wasted Money’ campaign. More information about the campaign and access these resources is available on our webpages, or select from the list of sector specific resources in the tabs below: 

  1. Restaurants and Food Carts
  2. Grocery Stores and Distributors
  3. Schools and Institutional Kitchens