excavator in landfill

Food Waste Reduction

Why is Food Waste a Problem?

  • Wasted food is a social problem: Many of our neighbors struggle to access enough food every day.  1 in 5 children in Tompkins is food insecure. Wholesome, nutritious food should feed people, not landfills.
  • Wasted food is an environmental problem: Food is the largest stream of materials in American trash. Once wasted food reaches landfills, it produces methane, contributing about 8% of total US greenhouse gas emissions. It also uses 25% of our freshwater resources and 300 million barrels of oil every year to produce food that is then thrown away.
  • Wasted food is an economic issue: It is estimated that at the retail and consumer levels in the United States, food loss and waste totals $161 billion dollars.  An average family of four throws away over $1,500 worth of good food every year. 

  • How Can I Learn More to Reduce my Own Food Waste?

    Find Tips at these organization websites

    The EPA's Reducing Food Waste at Home

    The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling Strategies for Residents

    The USDA's summary of Food Waste with resources for farms, businesses, schools and consumers

    Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association's - Virtual ReCook Cafe

    Come to our Food Waste Reduction Classes

    Learn to

    • Not Waste A Bite through Meal Planning
    • Use What You Have On Hand with Flexible Recipes
    • Store Your Food Well and Use Up What is Getting Old First
    • Turn Leftovers Into Something New

    Enjoy this video from Recycle Tompkins


    Baz Perry
    Agriculture and Food Systems Team Leader
    (607) 272-2292 ext. 131

    Last updated July 20, 2021