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The City of Portland, Oregon

Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


How to avoid food waste: Free tools and assistance

Food waste: Bad for the environment and your bottom line

Reducing the amount of edible food that gets tossed is not only the best thing your restaurant can do for the environment – it’s also a great way to reduce your food and labor costs.

How to spot and stop food waste

We know you’re already running an efficient kitchen, but food waste can often be hard to spot, especially in the rush of prep, serving and clean up. Our green business advisors can help you conduct a waste assessment to understand the quantities and types of food ending up in your garbage.

When you see what gets tossed – from both back of house and front – you may see opportunities to make small changes to food prep, serving portions, or garnishes. These small changes can add up to big savings, on prep time as well as food costs.

You know your operations best, so from there we can work together to come up with effective ways to reduce wasted food and support you in your efforts.

See how Embassy Suites found ways to reduce food waste by as much as 50 percent:

Get ideas from your peers

Every kitchen is unique but seeing what works for other businesses can spark ideas for what could work at yours.

  • Grand Central Bakery watched what got left on the plate and adjusted portion sizes and garnishes to reduce the amount of food going to the compost.
  • Hopworks tracks traditionally slow volume days and adjusted PAR levels to avoid overproduction.
  • Ringside and Urban Farmer turned trim into new ingredients like soup stock and pickles.
  • Pizzicato trains employees to reduce food waste from day one, so it becomes a function of their job like anything else. Learn more.
  •  ¿Por Qué No? Taqueria asks employees for feedback at the end of their shift and in paycheck inserts – the feedback they’ve heard has resulted in a number of changes that have reduced food waste. Learn more.

Read more: 10 Portland restaurants share how they’ve reduced food waste

And we want to hear your successes in reducing food waste! Email or give us a call at 503-823-7037.


Track your food waste

Identify food waste

Helpful checklists

More ways to reduce food waste and green your restaurant

Hotel kitchens and catering