Prevent Food Waste and Compost the Scraps!

Recycle Right in the New Year!
January 8, 2020
Schedule of Doing Good for 2020
January 29, 2020

Prevent Food Waste and Compost the Scraps!

There are many reasons to prevent food waste. After all, wasting food wastes all of the valuable resources used to grow, harvest, transport and store food in the first place. In a recent report, the Natural Resources Defense Council found that wasted food is responsible for wasting 19% of all U.S. cropland, 18% of all farming fertilizer use, 21% of our landfill content, 21% of our agricultural water usage, and 2.6% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention, it’s not just natural resources that are wasted when food doesn’t get eaten. The average family of four also spends $1,800 per year on food they don’t eat!

Our food waste dilemma is a challenging one–not only does it impact everyone, but the solution to the problem also requires action, by everyone. Considering that the largest chunk of food waste in Denver comes from households (and not from restaurants and grocery stores, as you might think), the key to collectively reducing food waste depends upon our individual actions and habits at home.

Here are a few quick tips for preventing food waste in your home: 

  • Store Food Smartly. Prep produce as soon as you bring it home for easy use during the week.
  • Freeze, Freeze, Freeze! Freezing food is like pushing the pause button, and almost anything can be frozen.
  • Understand Date Labels. “Sell by,” Best by,” and “Enjoy by” labels are generally not expiration dates at all. They are suggestions as to when the product is at its freshest, so use your sense (sight, smell, and taste) before you choose to throw food away.
  • Get Creative. If life gives you over-ripe bananas, stale bread, or wilted greens, consider making banana bread, croutons, or a smoothie (respectively) with these perfectly edible ingredients.

After preventing waste wherever possible with the tools provided above, the Denver Compostsprogram is here to collect the scraps and the food waste that wasn’t prevented. Denver’s green carts accept food scraps, paper towels and napkins, and even yard debris (including the remains of plants on which your backyard harvest grew!).

For more information about food waste prevention, seasonal recycling and composting options, and all other Denver Recycles programs, visit or call 311 (720-913-1311).


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