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Food Waste Prevention

Reducing organic waste is a top priority for Californians and us here in Santa Barbara County. Cutting back on food waste and putting yard trimmings into our green bins are great ways to divert waste from the landfill. Find out more about yard waste recycling, composting, food waste reduction, and other ways to reduce organic waste in this section.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a family of four can save more than $2,000 a year by implementing simple methods to reduce food waste:

  • Inventory and use what you have before you buy more.
  • Make a plan before you go shopping and buy only what you'll use.

Food Forward Grocery Shopper

  • Be creative by using the edible parts of foods that you normally throw away (e.g. make stock for soups or sauces, sauté  beet tops, make croutons from stale bread).
  • Donate healthy, safe, and untouched foods to food banks.
  • Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables.
  • Know how much food you're actually wasting by measuring your waste (either by weight or volume).
  • Reduce plate size and start with smaller servings.

You can also download a new app called "OLIO" to share your surplus or unwanted food with neighbors - think unopened yogurts of a flavor you thought you would like but discovered you didn't or excess baked goods that your family won't be able to eat solo.

OLIO App Photo

See our Food Expiration Guidelines for additional tips on reducing food waste, or download our new Food Forward booklet.

Our department, in partnership with Explore Ecology, also created this education video on food waste reduction. Check it out below!

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