DDPHE Recognizes Food Waste Prevention Week

Published on April 04, 2022

Simple changes can save residents money and reduce negative environmental impacts

Ending food loss and waste requires purposeful action. With approximately 40% of all food in the U.S. wasted, Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) is encouraging Denver residents to #SaveTheFood during Food Waste Prevention Week (April 4-8, 2022). Simple steps can help residents save money, reduce hunger in our communities, and protect our environment.

“Food waste impacts a variety of aspects of health and well-being,” said DDPHE Executive Director Bob McDonald. “By reducing the amount of food we waste at home, we can conserve resources and improve food security, which is critical for a healthy and thriving community.”

Wasting food is expensive. In Denver, the average family of four throws out an average of $1,800 worth of food annually. With roughly 33% if resident facing food insecurity, reducing the amount of food wasted will save families money and help prevent hunger.

In January, Denver was awarded a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Council of Mayors and the American Beverage Foundation for the Food Matters, Solutions for Food Waste Reduction program. The program aims to tackle food waste by providing residents with practical tools to make use of the food they have on hand and reduce the amount of edible food that ends up in the trash. 

“Everyone has the right to enough healthy, nutritious food to eat every day,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “We’re working deliberately and in partnership with local organizations to address food insecurity in our community, so that no child or family in our city ever needs to worry about when their next meal may be.”

Reducing the amount of food wasted also protects the environment. Limiting the amount of food wasted is the number one action a person can take on an individual level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard natural resources. Wasted food ends up in a landfill where it breaks down and emits greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).

Simple steps people can take to reduce the food they waste include:

  • Make a plan: planning your meals for the week will allow you to optimize leftovers and shared ingredients.
  • Make a list: survey your fridge and pantry before buying groceries, make your list, and stick to it. This will help minimize impulse purchases and doubling up on highly perishable foods – like bananas, bread, milk, and veggies –which are commonly wasted.
  • Store food properly: the temperature varies inside your fridge. Avoid storing highly perishable food in the door, place beverages and leftovers on the top shelf, and store fruits and veggies in the crisper drawers.

For more tips for reducing food waste and information about Food Waste Prevention Week visit Denvergov.org/SaveTheFood.