Make a difference during Food Waste Prevention Week in Portland

The national and local campaign strives to “help families save money, reduce the negative impact of food waste on the environment, and address hunger in our communities.”

A pile of food scraps with bagels, watermelons, and other vegetables visible.

Starting in 2025, food service businesses will not be permitted to put large amounts of food in the garbage.

Photo via Oregon Metro

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Today marks the beginning of Food Waste Prevention Week — Monday, April 10-Sunday, April 16 — so let’s not waste time. Oregon Metro reports that each year, we send the equivalent of 5,000 semi-trucks worth of food to landfills, by throwing it in our garbage.

That material then releases methane gas, which fuels climate change. Inefficiencies also drive up costs, not to mention the number of people who suffer from food insecurity.

We all contribute to the problem, but how can we change our habits to make a more positive impact?

Shopping savvy

Just like restaurants can improve their buying processes, how you get groceries and store food can lead to less ending up in the trash.

  • Make sure the most-perishable items are visible in your fridge or pantry
  • Extend food’s shelf life with tips from dontletgoodfoodgobad.org
  • Keep an inventory of what you need to use up before it goes bad
  • The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) suggests several more techniques to incorporate into your routine

Get educated

This Friday, April 14, the DEQ and Feed The Mass will host a free class for families to learn about the effects of waste at home and how to prevent, reuse, and properly dispose of food waste.

A gif shows a shovel going into a compost bin.

At home, it’s best to avoid composting meat, bones, dairy, and cooked foods.

Composting is cool

Make sure accepted items are taken away in your green compost bin (food and yard debris). If you’re making compost for your own garden, you’ll want to follow slightly different guidelines.

If you live in an apartment and don’t have access to compost or green bins, ShareWaste connects you to people who have the capacity to take on your food scraps.

Phone it in

  • Business owners and nonprofits — have you heard of Careit? The app provides an online platform to facilitate food donations. Just make a free account, post your surplus goods, and arrange the time and location for drop off.
  • Too Good To Go uses a similar model, but takes the extra food straight to consumers — especially those who like pastries.
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