What happens when everything on the shelf isn't sold? A waste reduction program can keep this food out of a landfill — and save retailers money. Photo: Shutterstock
What happens when everything on the shelf isn’t sold? A waste reduction program can keep this food out of a landfill — and save retailers money. Photo: Shutterstock

Financial Incentives for Reducing Food Waste

As you can see from the previous examples, not only does it make environmental sense for grocery stores to implement food waste reduction plans, it helps the bottom line, too. The financial benefits (PDF) of reducing/recovering food waste include:

  • Decreasing disposal fees. (Food banks and others often provide free pick-ups for excess food, and fees for composting can be less than those for landfill/incineration tipping.)
  • Decreasing sewer treatment and electricity costs. (Food waste isn’t going down the drain.)
  • Decreasing purchasing costs. (The stores find out what’s being wasted and buy only what’s needed.)
  • Increasing tax deductions for food donations to charities.
  • Increasing revenue from selling compost made from food scraps.

In many cases, successful food recycling programs can be implemented without incurring extra costs. Program implementation fees can be offset by waste haul fees, given the reduced volume of food waste.

Next page: Getting Started with a Program

By Chase Ezell

Chase has served in various public relations, communications and sustainability roles. He is a former managing editor for Earth911.com.