SWACO, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, has announced a campaign focused on reducing food waste in Columbus by providing shoppers with a unique resource, the Food Storage Guide, on how to extend the life of the fresh produce, dairy, and other foods they purchase.
Food waste in Central Ohio accounts for the single-largest source of landfill material, by weight, and is the equivalent to residents and businesses throwing away nearly 1 million pounds of food each day.
A scannable QR code found on shopping carts and within the dairy and produce sections at 14 Central Ohio Giant Eagle and Market District locations can take shoppers to the digital Food Storage Guide. The guide includes proper food storage tips and more information and resources about how to reduce food waste.
"We simply cannot reduce waste and the reliance we have on the landfill without the help of our community,” said Joe Lombardi, SWACO’s Executive Director. “We are thrilled to work with Giant Eagle to address this issue. Through our combined dedication to reducing food waste and enhancing recycling infrastructure, we are paving the way for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious Central Ohio."
Reducing food waste remains an important issue for Central Ohioans. In a public opinion poll conducted in 2022, 83 percent of residents were concerned with the amount of food wasted every day. “When uneaten food scraps go into the landfill, the time, labor, water, land and nutrients used in getting food through every step in the food chain – from growing, to processing, transporting and consuming – is wasted,” said Lombardi.
SWACO’s nationally recognized Save More Than Food (SMTF) website offers ideas on making those simple and intentional steps a part of anyone’s daily routine:
- Fridge Night prompts families to collect leftovers and look for creative ideas to bring them together. It also lets families properly freeze and date any leftovers a family can’t use.
- Label foods and leftovers that need to be eaten soon or place them within eyesight.
- Make leftovers new again by visiting SaveMoreThanFood.org to find a leftover recipe to demonstrate or try.
- Shopping more frequently and with a list reduces cost and waste. Creating meal plans makes those trips much easier.
- Proper food storage allows herbs, milk, cheese, fruits, and vegetables to have a much longer life in refrigerators.
"The Food Storage Guide will be a great resource for our customers,” said Giant Eagle Spokesperson, Jannah Jablonowski. “We’re pleased to amplify SWACO’s efforts to reduce food waste in Central Ohio.”
SMTF programs have already paid dividends, reducing household food waste by more than 20 percent in areas where food waste drop-off sites and educational programs that encourage food waste prevention are available.
Overall, the SMTF campaign hopes to help reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030.
Residents and businesses alike can visit savemorethanfood.org for information to help reduce food waste at home and work. The Food Storage Guide can be accessed in supermarkets beginning today through the end of the year.