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Reduce Food Waste

Store Food Better | Donate Food | Feed Animals

Did you know that almost one-third of the waste U.S. households throw away in landfills is food or scraps from food preparation? Shockingly, a lot of this type of waste can be avoided. Americans discard around 25% of the food they buy or throw away, about $1,600 annually for an average family!

Visit the NRDC website for more information on how America is losing up to 40% of its food from farm to fork to landfill.

NRDC How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill

5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

1. Store food better

Reducing food waste is a top priority, and it’s essential to take action at the source. By purchasing only what you need and buying fruits and vegetables at varying stages of ripeness, you can help prevent spoilage. We’re confident that you’ll find success with these tips and tricks that we’ve gathered to help make your food last longer.

Save The Food Guide

This guide shows you how to use your refrigerator’s humidity settings to make food last longer. The back contains a list of common fruits & vegetables—and where to store them to maximize your investment.


Consider donating high-quality food to an organization that will make the most of it to feed hungry people. In Chittenden County, there are a few organizations that accept food donations. Some of these organizations also accept event leftovers. To donate, please contact the numbers provided to get more information on how to prepare the leftovers and ensure that they can be accepted.

Vermont Food Bank

Provides a searchable database of Network Partners, including local food shelves, pantries, and other locations addressing food insecurity across Vermont.

Feeding Chittenden

Feeding Chittenden works to alleviate hunger by feeding people and cultivating opportunities. 
228 North Winooski Ave., Burlington

Committee on Temporary Shelter

Various locations. Provides emergency shelter, services, and housing for people who are homeless or marginally housed in Vermont.
Call: (802) 864-7402

A user-curated list of food banks and food pantries across Vermont, searchable by town.

Salvation Army

Call to set up a donation time. 
64 Main Street, Burlington
Call: (802) 864-6991 

UVM Campus Kitchen

The Campus Kitchens Project is a national program that partners with students across the country to help end hunger and empower communities to work together through local partnerships, fundraisers, volunteering and education.

3. Feed Animals

Feeding food scraps to livestock, such as chickens or pigs, is a recommended use of food waste. If you know any nearby chicken or pig farmer, you can offer them your food scraps. It’s important to note that the Vermont Agency of Agriculture doesn’t have any specific restrictions or guidelines for feeding food scraps to chickens. However, Federal and State law does regulate what can be fed to pigs strictly. It also mandates certain steps to ensure that pigs aren’t fed with any meat-related foods or any foods that might have been exposed to areas, equipment, or tools that have been in contact with meat.

Click here to read the state’s Swine Feeding Policy

4. Digest it


Food that is no longer suitable for human consumption, or is not accessible to livestock, can still serve a much better purpose than being wasted in a landfill. Composting is a natural process that creates a rich soil amendment. It enriches soils by introducing nutrients, organic matter, and beneficial fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms. It also improves soil structure by reducing compaction, increasing air filtration, and regulating moisture retention and use. So, instead of throwing away food and other organic materials, composting them can create a valuable resource for gardens, farms, and other agricultural activities.

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is a biological process that occurs when organic matter (generally in liquid or slurry form) is decomposed by bacteria in the absence of oxygen (i.e., anaerobically). Anaerobic digestion produces biogas that consists of approximately 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide. In a carefully controlled anaerobic digestion system, this gas can be recovered, treated and used to generate energy in place of traditional fossil fuels. The remaining effluent is low in odor and rich in nutrients.

5. Recover energy

According to the EPA,

Energy recovery from waste is the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into useable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes, including combustion, gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas (LFG) recovery. This process is often called waste-to-energy (WTE).

In Vermont, this is currently the “option of last resort” for food waste usage.

For more info on national programs, visit the EPA’s Energy Recovery from Waste page.

Reduce Food Waste: It’s what we do in Vermont

Act 148 (Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law, passed unanimously in 2012) requires all organic material – like food scraps and other food waste – to be diverted from the landfill by 2020. The state developed a “recovery hierarchy” to prioritize the ways to both reduce food waste and decide what to do with it after it is generated.

For more information visit the Vermont Official State website.

Got a tip for reducing food waste at home, or easy ways to take care of the food waste you generate? Pass it on – let us know!