Food Waste Prevention

Did You Know?

  • Wasted food represents 23% of global agricultural land.
  • 25% of U.S. freshwater and 4% of U.S. oil consumption goes to produce food that gets wasted.
  • Americans throw away approximately one quarter of all food and beverage purchases. This adds up to $1,350 to $2,275 lost per year per household.
  • Americans waste, on average, 1,400 calories per person every day, enough to feed more than the one billion hungry people worldwide.
  • The total food waste in Hawaii is estimated at over $1 billion per year, which, in 2010, was equivalent to 1.52 time the total production of agriculture in Hawaii.
  • Hawaii residents throw away approximately one quarter of all food and beverage purchases, which equates to a loss of about $700 per person per year.
  • On O’ahu, 15% of residential garbage is food, which is about 425 pounds of food waste per household every year.
  • The EPA has a goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030.

Take the Food Waste Challenge: Many of us don't realize how much food we throw away. Consider measuring your food waste for a day or a week by placing it in a separate container. Keep it covered and in the fridge to reduce smell and pests. Then, check out the below food waste prevention resources. You’ll save money while reducing your environmental footprint!

For inedible food scraps like egg shells or fruit peels, composting is a great option that reduces the volume of our waste stream and puts nutrients back into the soil. For upcoming City & County Backyard Composting workshops, click here.

Food: Too Good To Waste
"Food: Too Good To Waste" Cookbook and Guide

This comprehensive food waste booklet is tailored to O’ahu residents, and includes storage and preparation tips, recipes to re-vamp leftovers (including recipes by local chefs), donation options, organizational tools, and a shopping planner. To distribute or request free booklets, email

"Food: Too Good To Waste" is in partnership with the EPA. O’ahu’s version was developed as part of student Alex Lavers' master thesis project, and has since been updated. Click to read her final thesis, which includes an analysis of a pilot program where participants applied the booklet’s food waste prevention tips and measured results.

Save The Food
We’ve partnered with the NRDC’s “Save The Food” campaign. Save The Food encourages consumers to make simple lifestyle changes to reduce food waste, and in turn, minimize environmental and economic impact. Click here for recipes, news, and tips on storage and meal planning. “Cook it. Store it. Share it. Just don’t waste it.”

Learn More
Links and Resources About Food Recovery in Honolulu – EPA
Preserving and Preparing – University of Minnesota
Composting really can be simple – ABC Life
Wasted! The Story of Food Waste – Film
Love Food Hate Waste – WRAP
Leftovers: Tasty or Trash? -- Wall Street Journal
Take the mystery out of dairy shelf life -- The Oregonian
Wasted Food -- Blog from Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)
Waste Not, Want Not -- Video, GOOD Magazine
How to Waste Less Food, and Save Money, to Boot! -- CBS News
Refrigerator & Freezer Storage Chart -- FDA
Refrigerator Inventory: Five Steps to a Freshly Frugal Fridge -- SquawkFox

Mobile Apps and Web Tools
Note: Providing this information does not constitute endorsement of these businesses. Also, this information may not be all inclusive.

Cozi (also free web-based tool)
Features: shopping list, meal planner, recipe storage
Compatible with: Apple, Android, BlackBerry

FoodKeeper (free app)
Features: food and beverage storage timeline for your pantry, refrigerator and freezer
Compatible with: Apple, Android

MealBoard ($3.99 app)
Features: meal plan, grocery list, pantry, import recipes
Compatible with: Apple

NoWaste (free app)
Features: shopping list, expiration dates, food inventory, recipes for older food. Compatible with: Apple

Pepperplate (free app)
Features: menu, food calendar, shopping list, recipes.

StillTasty (free web-based tool)
Features: search shelf-life info, alerts when food will expire, shopping list

© 2005 City & County of Honolulu's Department of Environmental Services.