Approximately 80 billion pounds of food waste is created each year in the United States and most of it is not recovered. That means each person in the United States throws away over 250 pounds of food each year. There are missed opportunities to recover this food by improving management efficiency which can in turn reduce operating costs, feed those in need, recover food as a valuable resource, reduce the amount of methane generated as a greenhouse gas in the landfills, and create jobs in the process.

In 2011, three industries joined forces with the goal of reducing the amount of food waste ending up in U.S. landfills. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (food and beverage companies), the Food Marketing Institute (representing food retailers), and the National Restaurant Association (representing the food service industry) formed together the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA). The goals of the FWRA are as follows:

  1. Reduce the amount of food waste generated.
  2. Increase the amount of nutritious food safely donated to the needy.
  3. Recycle unavoidable food waste so as to divert it from U.S. landfills.

The Law & Tax Incentives

Some of the barriers to organizations interested in donating food are that they don?t know where to donate, what to donate, and are sometimes afraid of liability issues. Fortunately there are state and federal laws that protect both the donating organization and recipient organization from liability. To encourage food donation, there is a federal tax law enhancing tax donations to businesses that do so.

EPA guidelines on Sustainable Management of Food

Ohio Good Samaritan Food Law, Ohio Revised Code 2305.37

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (PDF)
The law was created to encourage donation of food and grocery products to nonprofits and provide donors liability protection.  The law protects donors except in cases of negligence or intentional misconduct.

The U.S. Federal Food Donation Act of 2008 (PDF)
This document deals with procurement contract language for federal agencies and their contractors.  It encourages donation of excess nutritional food to nonprofit organizations with the goal of feeding those in need.

Food Donation Federal Tax Guide (PDF)
Qualifying businesses may receive deductions of half of the donated food?s appreciated value, the limit being that the total deduction cannot exceed twice the donated food's basis cost.  Please contact your accountant to review this information. 
Source:  Harvard University Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation


Federal Tax Deduction for Food Donation (PDF)

Pleae contact your accountatn to review this information. 

Source: National Resource Defenst Council

Make a Donation

Find a list of local organizations that accept food donations by using the dark blue ‘What Do I Do With?’ search bar at the top of every page of this website. Use the keyword Food.

Other Resources

The ZeroWasteNEO Working Group has put together a Zero Waste Event Guide to give you step-by-step instructions on how to host a reduced or zero waste event. View the PDF or learn more about the zero waste movement in Cuyahoga County.

The University of Arkansas Law School Legal Guide to Food Recovery

National Restaurant Associaiton Food Donation Guidelines