Second Harvest cuts food waste with Grocery Rescue

April 22 is Earth Day, and one of the ways we're celebrating it at Second Harvest is by thinking about ways to reduce our food waste. Up to 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That's an average of 400 pounds of food per person each year. It's expensive, and when so many people are hungry, it's a waste of valuable resources.

Growing, processing, transporting, and disposing that uneaten food has an annual estimated cost of $218 billion, costing a household of four an average of $1,800 annually. You can find tips from Second Harvest dieticians to reduce your personal food waste here.

Second Harvest also helps reduce food waste in the Inland Northwest through Grocery Rescue, a partnership with 15 companies that provided 10.5 million pounds of ‘rescued’ food to local pantries last year. Grocery Rescue began more than 10 years ago with a pilot partnership with Rosauers Supermarkets.

The program has more than doubled since 2010, when seven companies provided about four million pounds of food to people in need.

Grocery rescue doesn’t just save money for food pantries and cut waste – it’s also a financial bargain for grocery stores. Major chains save thousands, or even hundreds of thousands per year donating to Grocery Rescue by avoiding fees for waste, hauling and recycling.

“By partnering with a food bank, they’re not only giving back to the community, but they’re saving money in the process,” said Shawn Lepisi, director of donor relations with Second Harvest.