Take the Waste Less Food Challenge!

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Keep good food from going to waste!a countertop container marked with numbers to measure food waste

The average American household wastes about 25% of the food they buy. Yet, most people don’t realize they toss that much. The Waste Less Food Challenge helps you see how much you’re really throwing out. You’ll learn easy ways to save time and money and keep valuable resources from going to waste!

The challenge takes less than 10 minutes per week for just one month. Complete the steps below to receive a free Food-Saver kit (while supplies last) and be entered into our monthly drawing for $100 worth of free groceries and other prizes.

WEEK 1: Collect and measure the edible food you throw out.

  • Find a leak-proof container that will hold one week of wasted food, such as a coffee can, crockpot, plastic juice pitcher, large yogurt tub or other washable container of a similar size, preferably with a lid. Make sure it is not too big and the sides are straight so that you can measure volume as accurately as possible.
  • Using a ruler, make one-inch measurement marks up the side, almost to the top. If you don’t want to write on the container, use a piece of masking or duct tape.
  • Place all your uneaten food in the container for the entire week—such as stale bread, old fruit, leftovers from the back of the fridge, plate scrapings, or the dinner you burned. Don't include liquids or inedible food such as apple cores, orange peels or bones.
  • Stick to your routine as much as possible for accurate results. Let everyone know where to put the wasted food. Don’t try any new strategies to reduce waste at this point.
  • At the end of the week, accurately measure how full your container is and record the amount on the worksheet or a piece of paper. Note what type of food you threw out the most and the reasons food went to waste.

WEEKS 2, 3 AND 4: Practice using the SMART tips and tools.

  • Review the Waste Less Food SMART (stands for Save Money and Reduce Trash) tips and tools.
  • Start using the strategies, tools, and tips and customize them so they work for your family. Make sure everyone is involved for best results.
  • Continue to collect and measure the food your household throws away each week. You are already throwing it out, so this isn’t much more effort. Record the amount for each week on the worksheet or a piece of paper. Note what type of food you threw out the most and the reasons food went to waste.
  • At the end of week 4, share your results using our online survey.


What next?

Use our SMART tips and tools to waste less food.
Learn more about the negative impacts of wasted food
What individuals can do
What businesses can do
Partners and community support
Learn more by visiting our resources page.

Contact us

Call Gabby Byrne at (360) 867-2284 or e-mail Byrneg@co.thurston.wa.us.

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