Preventing and Reducing Food Waste

Decreasing what we send to the landfill, to cut our greenhouse gas emissions

Bon Appétit Senior Fellow Nicole Tocco and Real Food Hamilton leaders Heather Krieger and Victoria Blumenfeld prepare to make food waste visible

At Bon Appétit, we hate food waste with a passion. It’s a big contributor to climate change. Wasting food means you’re also wasting all the energy it took to grow, harvest, transport, and cook it. In addition, food decomposing in landfills releases methane, the greenhouse gas that is 20 to 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), landfills are the largest human-related source of methane in the United States.

As part of our Low Carbon Diet program, Bon Appétit launched a 12-week Food Waste Reduction campaign in all cafés nationwide. By April 2009, we reduced food waste generated in our cafés by 30% through

  1. educating chefs and kitchen staff on proper portioning and prepping techniques,
  2. a daily waste-monitoring program in all kitchens, and
  3. a consumer-waste reduction educational campaign, which included weighing and measuring food at dish return stations and encouraging trayless dining where appropriate.

As a result of these efforts, we achieved a weekly reduction in CO2-equivalent emissions between 40 and 50 tons.

Read more about our subsequent food waste fighting commitments >


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