July 20, 2022

‘Reducing Food Waste Begins with You’ Campaign Now Under Way


The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has launched an educational awareness campaign to provide residents, businesses and organizations with ways they can reduce the estimated 124,000 tons of food scraps that are thrown away every year in the County. The “Food is Too Good to Waste—Reducing Food Waste Begins with You” campaign includes a public service announcement entitled Reducing Food Waste Begins With You.
Montgomery County is committed to reducing waste and recycling more as it aims for zero waste. Reducing food waste is a key objective of the County’s Climate Action Plan, which includes preventing and lessening the amount of food waste created.
“It’s sad to think Montgomery County residents and businesses are throwing away roughly 124,000 tons of food scraps a year, when we have residents who don’t have regular access to quality, nutritious food,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We can help reduce food insecurity and the amount of food that is thrown away by buying only what we need and donating excess edible foods to food rescue organizations, food pantries and shelters. This is just part of looking out for those who are most in need, something that is key to having a healthy community.”

Food waste generally comes from:
  • Excess or unwanted food that can still be eaten but is not.
  • Food scraps generated as food is being prepared at home.
  • Food scraps generated as food is prepared at restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, hospitals and other businesses or facilities.
  • Food that is believed to be expired, or past its “sell by,” “best by,” or “best if used by” dates.
  • Foods that have marks or blemishes on them.
  • Unused food from farms such as unharvested crops.
Among the ways to reduce food waste are:
  • Plan meals in advance.
  • Make a shopping list and check expiration dates on the items purchased.
  • Cook the food you buy.
  • Cook smaller portions to cut down on the amount of leftovers.
  • Save extra food in reusable containers and add a label listing the contents and the date before storing in the refrigerator or pantry.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says “food waste is one of the largest streams of material in American trash.”

"Throwing away unused or leftover food doesn't seem like a big deal, but it adds up. The food waste that we collectively generate impacts us socially, environmentally and economically," said County DEP Acting Director Adriana Hochberg. "Doing things that prevent food waste in the first place reduces the cost of collecting food waste for composting or disposal and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It also puts money back in your pocket."

To learn more about reducing food waste, visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/SWS/foodwaste/food-waste.html. Additional information also available by contacting Eileen Kao at 240-777-6406 or Eileen.kao@montgomerycountymd.gov.