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Food waste happens across the supply chain — farms, manufacturers, grocery stores, restaurants and more. Businesses can save money, reduce their environmental impact and feed hungry people by taking simple actions.


Waste reduction should be the first priority for minimizing food waste at food service operations. Start with the following tips and guidance on reducing food waste:

  • Go tray-less in cafeterias.
  • Be creative with kitchen excess. Create new dishes out of repurposed ingredients. Food scraps can be used in broths, stocks and soups.
  • Conduct a waste audit to measure the amount, type and reason for wasted food.
  • Practice FIFO (first in, first out).
  • Practice proper food storage techniques.



Donation helps those in need while contributing to your bottom line. The resources below provide important information and best practices for donating food from food service establishments.

The Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was signed into law to encourage the donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organizations for distribution to individuals in need. The legislation offers protection for these donors from liability when donating food in good faith.

  • Donate leftover food to food banks or shelters.
  • Donate food to farmers for animal feed.



Composting keeps food waste out of the landfill and creates a nutrient-rich soil amendment for gardening or landscaping. Composting also may save you money by reducing your disposal costs as well as your water and fertilizer usage. To learn more visit Compost it. Don't Waste it.

  • Compost on site.
  • Contact an organics hauler (businesses generating large amounts of food waste can have organics picked up).
  • Place compost bins in food prep and dining areas.
  • Turn wasted food into renewable energy:
    • Partner with a biofuel manufacturer to recycle waste cooking oil.
    • Partner with a facility that has an anaerobic digester to make biogas.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control also provides free, confidential technical assistance to businesses through two key programs. The S.C. Smart Business Recycling Program is designed to help businesses and hospitality facilities reduce their environmental impact.