Food Recovery Programs

Overview of Food Recovery programs

2013-2018 Kansas Food Recovery Outreach

K-State Pollution Prevention Institute has been assisting industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) facilities with identifying opportunities to reduce food loss and divert excess food to hungry Kansans. Projects are guided by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Food Recovery Hierarchy. PPI also hosted train-the-trainer workshops, using EPA's "Food: Too Good to Waste" tools, for community leaders to reach households. Materials developed from these projects are available on this webpage.

Food waste facts
Getting food from the farm to fork uses—

  • 16% of U.S. energy
  • 50% of U.S. crop land
  • 67% of U.S. freshwater used
Yet 40% of food in the U.S. goes uneaten. That’s $218 billion each year! Less than one-third of America's food waste would be enough to feed its 42 million food insecure population.
Information from National Resources Defense Council August 2017 report (17-05-A). 

PPI has conducted a variety of food recovery projects sponsored by a variety of funding agencies (private, state, and federal).  Projects have been located in Kansas communities with populations as small as a few hundred to the city of Wichita, with a population almost 390,000. The common theme with the projects is how to keep food from entering landfills. Each project has used the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Food Recovery Hierarchy when making recommendations to ICI sectors as to how to manage their wasted food. In its establishment of the hierarchy, EPA considered not only environmental benefits, but also societal and economical.

The projects—

  • 2013: Rural community food waste assessment and recovery
  • 2013-14: Food recovery challenge feeds Sedgwick County hungry
  • 2017: Feed people not landfills
  • 2018: Three food waste assessment and recovery projects at ICI facilities
Want to learn more? Contact Nancy Larson by email or at 800-578-8898.

Resources for reducing food waste

Strategies to reduce food waste at schools (2018) [PDF]

View a list of strategies to assist schools in reducing food waste. This document is applicable to all schools, though some links are specific to Kansas.

Strategies to reduce food waste at colleges and universities (2018) [PDF]

View a list of strategies to assist colleges and universities in reducing food waste.


Case study - food recovery at a Kansas public school (2018)[PDF]

Presents results of food waste assessments at Lawrence, KS schools. Outlines strategies to reduce pre-consumer food waste and divert excess food to hungry populations. 


Case study - food recovery at KU Dining Services (2018)[PDF]

Presents results of food waste assessments at Kansas University dining areas. Goal to reduce pre-consumer food waste and divert excess food to hungry populations. Calculated reduction in environmental impact by diverting food waste from the landfill.


Train-the-trainer workshop presentation[PDF] and handouts (2018)

Food Product Dating [pdf]

Good Samaritan Act [pdf]

NERC tips for VT residents (incl crisper drawer settings) [pdf]


EPA Food: Too Good to Waste Toolkit (2016)

Get Smart: take the challenge [pdf]
Smart Shopping: buy what you need [pdf]
Smart Storage: keep fruits and vegetables fresh [pdf]
Smart Prep: prep now, eat later [pdf]
Smart Saving: eat what you buy [pdf]
Poster-consider the tomato [pdf]
EPA Food: Too Good to Waste outreach presentation [ppt]

MealConnect (2018)

Using an phone app, donate surplus meals to your community through MealConnect, a platform by Feeding America. Save money, reduce waste, and help fight food insecurity.
  Food Donation Liability in Kansas (2016) [PDF]

The Public Law Health Center prepared this guide for food donators and distributors.
Overview and checklist for food recovery [PDF]

Learn more about the food recovery hierarchy and how to conduct your own food waste audit (surpus food checklist).
  Green meeting checklist for conferences and trade shows [PDF]

Is your facility planning to host or hold a green meeting? This document is a checklist for what to consider, which includes food-related decision making. 
PPI's food recovery assessment study tables (2018)  [Microsoft Excel]

This Excel spreadsheet is a comprehensive tool to evaluate the financial and environmental cost of a facility's food waste. 
  PPI's food waste logbook [Microsoft Excel]

If your facility would like to track food waste generation for a one, three, or seven-day period, this Excel spreadsheet will automatically calculate amount and cost of the food waste.

EPA: WARM tool, v.14 (2016)

The link goes to EPA's webpage with the most current version of the EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM), which helps compare baseline and alternative waste management scenarios and calculates greenhouse gas emissions and energy savings. Click on the link, "Excel-Based Tool."


EPA: Waste logbook

A simple, single-page waste tracking log to be printed and filled out by hand during data collection. Instructions are included on the second page.


Further with FOOD

Website with comprehensive info about food loss and waste including innovative new approaches to reduce generation of excess food, feed hungry people, and divert food and scraps to the highest beneficial use.

  ReFED: Roadmap Executive Summary (2016) [PDF]

Summarizes the ReFED publication, "Roadmap to Reduce US Food Waste by 20%." Focuses on stakeholder actions and the financial impact of different solutions for prevention, recovery, and recycling of food waste.
Guide to Conducting Student Food Waste Audits, A Resource for Schools (2017) [PDF]

A step-by-step guide to conducting food waste audits in schools, from planning the audit to collecting the data and ideas for preventing food waste.
  EPA: A Guide to Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment (2014) [PDF]

Covers the process from preassessment to analyzing the results and waste diversion opportunities and resources.

K-State Research and Extension Food Safety-Food Waste

Additional resources on reducing food waste and donating excess food.


NRDC Report: The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America (2013) [PDF]

Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic promote date labeling policies and practices that will decrease confusion, reduce food waste and improve food safety.


NRDC Food Issues

This Natural Resources Defense Council's website provides resources and information on food waste as well as other food system issues.


FWRA: Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Guide (2015) [PDF]

Covers a variety of topics including assessments, operating procedures for different industries, donations, and other waste diversion opportunities such as energy recovery and composting.

Natural Resources Defense Council and the Ad Council have teamed up to campaign against food waste. Go to this website to get tips for fighting food waste, meal planning, understanding packaging dates and best storage practices to maximize food shelf life.
  Keeping Food Out of the Landfill: Policy Ideas for States and Localities (2016) [PDF]

A toolkit for state and local governments interested in developing policies to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste.
Gleaning toolkit from USDA [PDF]

Gleaning is the act of collecting excess fresh foods from places like gardens and farms, farmers markets, grocery stores, and any other sources in order to give the food to those who need it.  Find out more about the process in this document.
Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging: A Guide for Food Services and Restaurants (2015) [PDF]

This EPA toolkit is designed to help food service establishments and commercial kitchens save money by reducing wasted food and packaging with suggested strategies, templates and case studies.
Food Recovery Challenge

Any business or organization can participate in EPA's Food Recovery Challenge through prevention, donation and recycling.  Learn more about the program and available resources at this website.

Food Recovery Verified 

This program increases awareness and participation in food recovery by verifying, recognizing, and awarding any food business which donates food at least once per month. Businesses can apply online by following the provided link.

    Map of Kansas food diversion facilities
    Are you aware of facilities in your area of Kansas that accept food-related materials, such as food pantries, animal feed operations, biodigesters, or composting facilities? Email or call 800-578-8898 to get it added to the map. 

    * Abbreviations:

    Abbreviation       County
    AN Anderson
    CK Cherokee
    CQ Chautauqua
    DK Dickinson
    DP Doniphan
    JF Jefferson
    LV Leavenworth
    MG Montgomery
    PT Pottawatomie
    SN Shawnee
    WB Wabaunsee
    WY Wyandotte


    Train-the-Trainer Workshop


    Food: Too Good to waste

    Strategic Communication


    K-State Pollution Prevention Institute
    (800) 578-8898 |
    2323 Anderson Ave., Suite 300, Manhattan, KS 66506