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Prevention Resources

Best by? Use by? Expires on? The food waste focused nonprofit ReFED estimates that as much as 20%of consumer food waste is caused by confusion over date labels. And no wonder! Date labels mean something different to each manufacturer. Learn a few basics to get you started!

Collage of fresh fruits and vegetables
Become a Food Storage Pro Did you know that storing bananas near other fruits make those fruits ripen faster? Or that potatoes will last longer if stored in a dark place? Check out our Food Storage Guide to make your food last longer.
Lunch With Lucy Watch quick video's for tips and tricks from SWACO's food waste expert on reducing your food waste at home.
Shop Smart and Meal Plan Make a plan before you go to the grocery store by creating a meal plan for the next several days. Then, stick to your plan while at the store to save money by only buying what you know you will use. Use the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Meal Prep Mate to get started by trying out one of their pre-designed meal plans or use their planning tool to make your own plan.

Learn about Date Labels

Best by? Use by? Expires on? The food waste focused non-profit ReFED estimates that as much as 20% of consumer food waste is caused by confusion over the meaning of date labels. And no wonder! Date labels mean something different for each manufacturer. While date labels can help you approximate how long a food has been around, rely on other methods like the “sniff-test” and visual cues such as signs of aging, mold, or rotting to decide whether your food is okay to eat.

Check out this article on common food date label misconceptions.
Next, take a date label quiz from food waste non-profit ReFED and learn more about how date labels vary from state to state.

NRDC's Food Storage Guide

NRDC'S interactive storage guide has tips, trick, and info to keep your food fresh for as long as possible

Tips on Freezing

You can freeze almost any food (Just not eggs in their shells or canned foods!). Once fully frozen, your food will never become unsafe to eat, but try to eat it within 6 months of freezing to maximize flavor and freshness. Check out the link for helpful tips.

The Refrigerator Demystified

Refrigerators are designed to keep you food fresh for longer. By understanding its design, you can keep your food fresh for even longer. Print out this quick reference guide to remind you to store your food for maximum freshness.

Meal Planning for a Group

When cooking for family and friends, it can be difficult to know how much food you need to prepare. This easy-to-use calculator can help you buy the right amount for your next get-together.

Lunch with Lucy

Follow SWACO on social media to receive updates including “Lunch With Lucy” posts with quick and easy tips, tricks and recipes to help you reduce your waste at home. Watch previously posted video’s on SWACO’s website.

Food Waste and Kids

When you have young one’s to feed, picky eating, distractions during meals, and a tendency to throw food can all be challenges when trying to reduce food waste. But there are some things that you can do to help waste less food with kids.

Green Holiday Guide

Learn ways to make a difference this holiday season by reducing your waste and recycling more.

Learn from the Experts with SWACO's "From Waste to Resources" Webinar Series

Routinely, SWACO offers free educational webinars on best practices for reducing waste, reuse, recycling, composting and safely disposing of unwanted materials. Go to SWACO's website to learn about a variety of waste diversion opportunities, or find recent food waste webinars at the links provided.
Recover Food Before it Goes to Waste

Rescue and Recovery Resources

We’re all human. Sometimes we forget about that extra bell pepper that we saved for another day or discover a lonely wrinkled apple at the bottom of the fruit bin. Find recipes and tricks to give these ingredients a new life.

NRDC’s Save The Food Recipes and Tips From cheese rinds to leftover Thanksgiving turkey, Save The Food features recipes for all of your leftover or past-their-prime foods. Search by food type or browse meals that meet your dietary restrictions.
Shop for Rescued Food Nature is not a perfectionist. Sometimes carrots are crooked. Occasionally apples are odd colors. Look for these one-of-a-kind items in the discount section at your local grocery to save money and prevent waste.
Plate of food
Make Leftovers New Again Browse recipe collections at for fun and imaginative ways to transform leftover ingredients into an all new meal.

Shop with Food Waste Reducing Retailers

Some online food retailers specialize in selling food that otherwise would have gone to waste. Some items have a wonky shape, others are just not quite the right size- but all of them are still just as delicious!

Hellmann's Fridge Night

Grab your left-behind food and find a 'Flexible Recipe', designed to use up leftovers and make a delicious meal the whole family will enjoy.
Get Involved

Join the Efforts Below to Team Up with Food Waste Prevention Partners

Divert Your Food Scraps

Composting Resources

Gathering food scraps
Collecting Food Scraps at Home 5 easy tips for keeping your kitchen bin and food scrap bucket odor and critter free.
Illustration of a girl in a field holding an apple core. A compost bin and apple tree are in the background
Backyard Composting Guide Use SWACO’s introductory guide to backyard composting to start your own compost pile.
Illustration of a girl standing next to a composting bin
Compost Troubleshooting Guide Is your compost too smelly? Too wet? Or attracting pesky critters? Our Compost Troubleshooting Guide can help. Get no-sweat assistance and great tips in this guide.
Woman and girl gardening
Compost Bin Rebate Earn a $50 rebate on backyard composting equipment through Community Backyards Program through Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.
Compost in the Cold Whether you’re a new to composting or have a few seasons under your belt, composting in the Winter presents challenges in cold climates. Here are some tips to keep you composting throughout the Winter.

Community Food Waste Drop Off Programs

A growing number of Central Ohio communities have launched community food waste drop-off programs. Residents of these communities can drop-off their food scraps free of charge. Visit a community's website to learn how to sign up to use a site.

Curbside Composting and Other Drop-off Options

Fee-based curbside pick-up services and drop-off sites are available for residents who want to divert their organics but don't have access to a community sponsored drop-off and want an alternative to composting in the back yard.

Visit their company pages to learn more about options for residential composting.

Backyard Composting

It's easy to get started!

Did you know? On average, every Central Ohio residents wastes $375 a year on food that they throw away.

Share The Campaign Talk to Family and Friends About Food Waste

Download and print copies of the Save More Than Food “At Home” flyer to start a conversation with family and friends about small steps that we can each take to save money and environmental resources by reducing food waste.

Share The Campaign