Make a Difference at Home

Find more on each of these topics by scrolling through this page.

Woman and child cutting vegetables
Prevention All food is meant to be eaten. Help to feed people rather than landfills by being thoughtful about what food you buy and taking the time to store food properly.
Recovery Using up every last scrap of food brings out creativity and resourcefulness. Find helpful recipes to use up odds and ends, tips for reviving aging ingredients, and more.
Bin of food scraps
Compost Connect with Central Ohio resources, partners, and guides to compost food scraps and avoid sending food to the landfill.


Help Save Resources, Time, and Money by Preventing Food Waste

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!

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.
Lunch With Lucy Watch quick video's for tips and tricks from SWACO's food waste expert on reducing your food waste at home.
Store Food Properly Did you know that fresh herbs like basil and rosemary should be washed and kept in a vase like flowers? Or that potatoes will last longer if stored in a paper bag in a dark place? Check out USDA food storage guide to make your food last longer.

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 Question & Answer guidance on date labels from the USDA.
Next, take a date label quiz from food waste non-profit ReFED and learn more about how date labels vary from state to state.

Food Storage Guide

Check out the SaveTheFood’s food storage guide to make your food last longer.

Freeze Your Food

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.

The Guest-Imator

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.

The Best Ham and Bean Soup

Don't throw out your leftover ham and carrots from the big meal! Learn how to turn them into a delicious ham and bean soup.
Get Involved

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

Rescue and Recovery

Recover Food Before it Goes to Waste

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.

Divert Organics at Home

Woman and girl gardening
Backyard Composting In partnership with SWACO, Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District offers backyard composting trainings as well as rebates on compost equipment for residents. Go to Franklin Soil and Waster’s website to learn more.
Join a Community Compost Program Find out whether your community offers a compost drop-off or pick-up program that you can join by clicking on “More Resources” below.
Gathering food scraps
Join a Compost Subscription Service Find local compost haulers who will pick up your food waste at your door. Click on “More Resources” to connect with haulers and find a plan that works for you.

DIY Backyard Compost

Use SWACO’s introductory guide to backyard composting to start your own compost pile.

Earn a $50 rebate on backyard composting equipment through SWACO and the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.

Community Drop Off Programs

A growing number of Central Ohio communities have launched community compost drop-off programs. Residents of these communities can drop-off their food scraps free of charge.

Learn more about compost programs in these communities.

Curbside Composting and Other Drop-off Options

For a monthly fee, curbside pick up services or fee0based 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.

• The Compost Exchange is a local compost option that specializes in residential programs. They offer both curbside pick-up programs as well as drop-off sites at select farmer’s markets and grocery locations.

• Together We Compost also provides curbside services.

• GoZERO is a hauler that primarily works with commercial businesses, but with their “Compost Stations” program, you can partner with their business customers to use their business site as a compost drop-off location.

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