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Reduce Food Waste

  1. Shop Smarter
    • Cook or eat what you already have at home before buying more.
    • Check your refrigerator and cupboards before grocery shopping to avoid buying food you already have.
    • Don’t overfill your refrigerator with food. Excess food leads to more food waste!
    • Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping and only buy the things needed for those meals.
    • Purchase “ugly” fruits or vegetables that often get left behind at the grocery store but are safe to eat. “Ugly” produce has physical imperfections but are not damaged or rotten.
  2. Store Food Mindfully
    • Designate an area for foods that need to be eaten soon. Make sure the new items go behind the ones you already have.
    • Freeze fruits and vegetables if you know they won’t be eaten in time before spoiling.
    • Use the FoodKeeper and CalFresh websites to learn how to maximize the freshness and quality of food.
  3. Preserve Foods
    • Preserve your foods to reduce waste and make food last longer. Pickling, drying, and canning are a few preserving methods to try!
    • Prepare and cook perishable items, then freeze them for use throughout the month.
  4. Manage Excess Food
    • Click here to learn the differences between “Sell by”, “Use by”, “Best by” and expiration dates, or visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website for more information.
    • Utilize food that is ready to expire for soups, baked goods, smoothies, etc.
    • Create new dishes and snacks with leftover food.
    • If you prepared too much food for a party, pack extras in containers for guests to take home.

Get Involved

Visit our A Day Without Hunger page and spread the word about our events!

  • Donate unopened non-perishable (retail packaged) items to local food banks/food pantries. To find a food donation pantry near you, click here.
  • Organize a community food drive and a food waste prevention challenge.
  • Volunteer at your local food banks/food pantries.
  • Encourage your local supermarkets, restaurants and schools to donate excess food.

For more information on safe surplus food prevention and donation resources, visit the County of Los Angeles Public Health website.