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​​​Project REDUCE

Restaurants Eliminating Diverting Uneaten food through Compos​ting & Education

Cropped Project REDUCE logo.png

The City of Phoenix and the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) Food Matters worked together on a 10-week program to help nine local restaurants on Historic Grand Avenue and Roosevelt Row reduce their food waste. The goal is to stop food from ending up in landfills by helping restaurants preve​nt waste, donate surplus food, and compost scraps.​ 

Over the course of the pilot, the participating restaurants diverted 31,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill!

​​Preventing Waste

​Adopting prevention practices is the most effective way to reduce food waste. It saves restaurants resources and time, as well as money.

Project REDUCE restaurants adopted at least two prevention strategies for the duration of the challenge. Some of these strategies include:

  • Adopting new practices for food purchasing, storage, and right-sizing
    cooking quantities to ​minimize waste

  • Utilizing foods that might otherwise go unused (like imperfect fruits and vegetables, unusual plant parts, surplus foods) and taking nose-to-tail approaches with animal products; creating new or modified recipes.​​​​

  • Offering more flexible portions (like smaller portions, half-size options, etc.).

  • Cooking in small batches and/or cook to order.

  • Making side dishes and bread optional.

  • Training on food waste reduction and recognition for practices that reduce food waste.​

Chris Lenza.jfifRestaurant​s met with local chef Chris Lenza, National Executive Chef of the Cafe Bon Appetit Wellness Team, to receive hands-on guidance and training on food waste prevention strategies that are specific to each restaurant's unique needs.
Chris Lenza.jfif

​Donating Surplus Food

​​​​WasteNot-stacked_darkteal (1)_edited.jpgParticipating restaurants utilized Waste Not's free MealConnect app to donate surplus food throughout the eight week pilot. Restaurants used MealConnect to pair food donations with volunteer drivers and a recipient agency. For more information on signing up for MealConnect, please visit mealconnect.org/donate​.

​Composting Fo​od Scraps

recycled city logo.png

Each restaurant was provided with free compost collection services from Reycled City for the full 10-week challenge period. 

For restaurants that were interested, the City of Phoenix conducted waste audits and provided information about how much waste are they generated and diverted at the beginning and end of the pilot to track progress.

​​​​​​A special thank you to our program partners: