According to the EPA, over one-third of the food produced in the United Stated is never eaten. A family of four wastes approximately $1,500 a year on uneaten food.
Food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills. Preventing food waste not only preserves natural resources and reduces green house gas emissions, it also saves people money.
Food Waste Prevention
Preplan and make a shopping list before going to the grocery store. check your fridge to see what items you already have and only buy what you expect to use. This can save you both money and time.
Plan Ahead to Reduce Food Waste - USDA (English)
Plan Ahead to Reduce Food Waste - USDA (Español)
The Guest-imator (SaveTheFood.com). Helps users to properly plan the right amount of food.
Food Storage Guide - King County (English) (PDF)
Food Storage Guide - King County (Español) (PDF)
FoodKeeper App (FoodSafety.gov). Provides “information on how to safely store different foods to maintain freshness and quality.” Available on the web or as a mobile application.
Store It (SaveTheFood.com). Interactive storage guide with tips and tricks to keep food fresh.
“Best if Used By/Before", "Sell-By", and “Use By” dates refer to the quality of the food, not safety, except when used on infant formula. A “Freeze-By” date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. To learn more about date labels watch the short video below.
Understanding Date Labels - NEWMOA (English)
Understanding Date Labels - NEWMOA (Español)
- USDA Food Date Label Infographic (English)
- USDA Food Date Label Infographic (Español)
One way to prevent food waste is to make sure your leftovers are used.
Love Your Leftovers - USDA (English)
Love Your Leftovers - USDA (Español )
- Cooking With Food Scraps (SaveTheFood.Com). "Recipes for everything from overripe avocados to cheese rinds."
- Everyday Leftovers (Allrecipes). "Family-friendly recipes for everyday leftovers."
Find a Food Bank
To find a food bank near you, visit Feed the Carolinas
Help Feed Others
If you have excess food, consider donating it to a local food bank and help feed those in the community struggling to find consistent, nutritious food. Food Banks accept sealed non-perishable, refrigerated, or frozen items as well as produce. You can also donate non-food items like hygiene, cleaning, or paper products.
Good Samaritan Act
The Good Samaritan Act provides protections individuals, corporations, partnerships, organizations, associations, or governmental entities when it donates in good faith “apparently wholesome food,” that meets federal, state, and local quality and labeling laws. In addition, the protections are extended for “food products that do not meet these standards if the donor informs the nonprofit, the nonprofit agrees to recondition the items to meet these standards, and the nonprofit knows how to properly do so.”
Composting your food scraps saves money, landfill space, and water; reduces methane emissions from landfills; and produces a nutrient rich soil.
Carrboro residents can compost food scraps at one of Orange County Solid Waste Food Drop-off Sites, including Carrboro Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.
Carrboro offers backyard compost bins ($45) and kitchen pails ($5) for sale. Complete the order form to begin composting at your home.
Compost to Reduce Food Waste - USDA (English)
Compost to Reduce Food Waste - USDA (Español)
To learn more about composting visit our Backyard Composting and Vermicomposting webpages.