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Food Waste Prevention

Program Contact: Diane Smith, Associate Professor, Health Promotion and Food Access Specialist
360-395-2355 •

On our own, our efforts may feel like nothing – but when we all make small changes – the results can be huge!

Complete the scorecard to assess your food waste prevention habits.

Food waste adds up. Know the cost.

Food waste prevention (FWP) is an important value to most Americans. However, many of us are simply not aware of how much food we end up wasting in a year… and it adds up fast.

Join us and our mission!

Email Diane at to learn more about how to work with us.

Partner Portal Waste Prevention Tips and Resources Composting Resources Food Preservation Info


What is food waste?

Food waste refers to edible food that is intended for human consumption, but instead gets discarded or expires.
This can occur in many different situations during preparation, sales, or food service, at grocery stores, restaurants or in individual households. It includes plate waste, spoiled food, discarded peels and rinds, and more.


Why is food waste so important?

When food is wasted, the land, water, time, energy, love, and other resources that are used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing the food are wasted as well. Not only that but if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.

In the US, we waste a lot of food.

Current estimates show that 30-40 percent of the food supply in the U.S. is wasted each year. This is a serious problem for climate change, because methane is a greenhouse gas that heats the atmosphere up to 80 times faster than carbon dioxide.

I have a busy life.
Why should I try to make food waste prevention a priority?

Did you know?…

The average family of four spends $1,200 per year on food that does not get eaten. (That is $100 per month!)

Imagine having $1,200 extra each year simply by spending less on groceries because with a little effort, over time you’ve become better at using all your food before it goes bad!
I think that is a skill worth investing a little time into! 

Even a little bit of an effort to simply become more aware of when you waste food, builds up over time that can develop into useful skills:

• Saving money because of a better idea of what foods you actually use in time
• Helping manage your household more efficiently
• Easier time meal prepping because you are more aware of the food you have.

Don’t feel bad if you continue to waste food or find it difficult to put much effort in, just keep trying without being harsh on yourself, it’s hard to change what you’re already used to doing! Just know you can change, even if you start out small.

Even a one degree shift in your thinking can cause a massive change in your life over time.


grocery store produce

What can I do? 

How can I get better at using all the food I buy in time?

Preventing food from going to waste is one of the easiest and most powerful actions you can take to save money and lower your climate change footprint.

The basics of reducing your food waste include trying to improve these skills:

  • Becoming more aware of when you waste food
  • Knowing what you need and buying only what you need
  • Eating what you buy
  • Avoiding throwing away food

Simple! Growing in these areas requires a small amount of attempted effort and a little time.

Don’t know where to start? We have some idea tips for you! Check out our tips and tricks page!


Food Waste Prevention Tips and Resources

Free printable cookbooks!