Food Waste Reduction


Click here for tools and tips on food waste reduction at

Video Courtesy of the County of Hawaii Department of Environmental Management Solid Waste Division and Recycling Section.

2 minute video on the life of a strawberry

Food Recovery Hierarchy Order of Preference: Source Reduction, Feed Hungry People, Feed Animals, Industrial Users, Composting, Landfill/Incineration

How Does Food Waste Affect Hawaii?

Many food waste estimates are based on a USDA study completed in February 2014. Though the study finds that 31% of food value is lost, the range may be as high as high as 40% Nationally based on recent data. (USDA study)

Below is information from a local article on food waste using the national study as well as data collected in Hawaii.

40% of seafood in Hawaii is thrown away while 1 in 5 keiki go hungry. Learn More at and

Food Waste in Hawaii

Hawaii pays some of the highest food prices in the U.S., but we still toss out 237,000 tons of food per year or 26% of the available food supply. This food waste equals over $1 billion or 1.5% of the states GDP. This equals approximately $700 per person (in Hawaii), per year.

Almost half of all the fresh fruit produced or imported into the State is thrown away, while rice and seafood hovers around 40% uneaten.

Almost half of all fresh fruit in Hawaii is thrown away while over 11,000 Kauai Residents a year require food assistance. Learn more at

For more information on Hawaii food waste and how businesses can reduce their own production you can read this article from Hawaii Business Magazine-

All businesses-

Restaurants and other food establishments may want to check out


To find out other ways to save food, visit

How Can I Divert Food From Landfills?

How Can I Divert Food From Landfills?

Economic Benefits

  • Lower Disposal Costs - By decreasing the amount of food wasted, businesses pay less to dispose of their trash. Some haulers charge less if the food waste is separated from the trash and sent for composting rather than landfilling.
  • Reduce Over-Purchasing and Labor Costs - By making strides to prevent food waste, businesses can reduce costs by purchasing only the food that will be used, or decreasing improperly prepared foods. Additionally, reducing food waste can increase staff efficiency and reduce energy and labor associated with disposing of food.
  • Receive Tax Benefits by Donating Food - By donating wholesome and edible food to food banks or food rescue organizations, businesses can claim tax benefits as well as feed those in need.

Hawaii throws away 1.025 billion dollars worth of food a year. Over three times the Department of Education annual budget. Learn more at and

Social Benefits

Feed People, Not Landfills - An estimated 50 million Americans do not have access to enough food. Organizations can donate safe and healthy food to a food bank or food rescue organization and both reduce food sent to landfills and feed those in need.

Environmental Benefits

  • Reduce Methane From Landfills - When food is disposed in a landfill, it rots and becomes a significant source of methane - a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Landfills are a major source of human-related methane in the United States, accounting for more than 20 percent of all methane emissions.
  • Reduce Resource Use Associated with Food Production - There are many resources needed to grow food, including water, fertilizers, pesticides, and energy. By wasting food, you are also wasting the resources that went into growing it. Additionally, in the 2009 report, Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Materials and Land Management Practices (PDF), it shows that approximately 13 percent of greenhouse gases in the United States are associated with growing, manufacturing, transporting, and disposing of food. By reducing the amount of food wasted, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Create A Valuable Soil Amendment - Recycling food waste and turning it into compost has many environmental benefits such as improving soil health and structure; increasing drought resistance; and reducing the need for supplemental water, fertilizers, and pesticides. Food waste can also be turned into renewable energy and a soil amendment through anaerobic digestion.
  • Improve Sanitation, Public Safety, and Health at Your Facility - Food waste dumped in standard trash cans and dumpsters in the back alley of a home, store or restaurant can generate bad odors and attract rodents or insects. Placing food scraps in a closed, leak-proof, durable, and reusable container, and having it frequently emptied for donation or composting can significantly reduce, and even eliminate these problems.

1.43 million pounds of food is thrown away in Hawaii per day. Only 0.91 million pounds is locally produced a day