On this page, you can find resources to help guide you on your food saving journey. 

Food Saving Strategies

The following strategies are based on the U.S. EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, which lists, in order, actions we can take to prevent and divert wasted food. It considers environmental, social, and economic benefits.

These strategies are grouped into three major categories: prevention, donation, and FoodCycling.

Prevention, Donation, Foodcycling pyramid

Prioritize strategies that prevent wasted food in the first place. The next most important strategy is to donate wholesome surplus food to local organizations that can direct it to hungry people. Lastly, send any remaining food waste to compost, animal feed, or anaerobic digestion.

Prevention, donation, and FoodCycling can save you money, feed people in our community, and keep methane out of the atmosphere. Help your wallet. Help your neighbors. Help our planet.

The Resources section of this page contains more information and guidance on these strategies.

Food Saving Strategies


  • Measure and track wasted food in your back and/or front of house
  • Engage your staff through training on food waste reduction, and through recognition for practices that reduce food waste
  • Take a “nose to tail” and “root to stem” cooking approach and find creative ways to use extra ingredients
  • Use a “first in, first out” approach for inventory, and label ingredients with delivery dates to keep track of what products are oldest
  • Modify food purchasing (frequency, quantities, etc.) to minimize waste
  • Offer flexible portion options
  • Cook in small batches and/or cook to order
  • Avoid use of rarely eaten garnishes unless requested
  • Engage your customers by displaying educational materials (on tables, in menus, etc.)
  • Develop an “ask first” policy before serving side dishes and bread
  • Encourage customers to take leftovers to-go
  • Enlist another Tacoma restaurant to participate in the Challenge
  • Other; what creative prevention strategy did we miss?


  • Set up a donation partnership with a local food pantry
  • Educate staff on food donation procedures and liability


  • Compost your food scraps (City FoodCycling program, or your own compost site)
  • Donate or sell food scraps for animal consumption
  • Sign up to recycle your used cooking oil