If surplus food or food scraps is a large part of your organization's trash, collecting organics will give these materials a new life as food for others, animal feed or compost.
Certain businesses are required to collect food scraps in back-of-house (non-public areas). Businesses, organizations and even individuals have a variety of options depending on the type of food waste that is generated:
Collect food scraps for composting
Have your food scraps turned into valuable compost. Learn how to start or improve organics collection.
Donating edible food to people
Food rescue organizations want your unwanted edible food, so they can serve hungry residents. Businesses, organizations and schools can donate:
- Prepared menu items and buffet foods
- Produce, dairy and deli items as long as they were kept at safe temperatures
- Unused food from catered events
- Day-old and other baked goods
- Unlabeled or mislabeled foods
- Excess produce from community gardens
Food donors are protected by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Act. Organizations that donate food in good faith to a nonprofit are not subject to liability on the condition of the food.
The federal tax code allows a deduction for donated food. Contact your tax professional to determine its application to your organization. Qualified commercial taxpayers can deduct the cost to produce the food and half the difference between the cost and full fair market value of the donated food.
Food donation organizations
Collecting food for animals
Food scraps and expired food items that are not suitable for food donation might still be good for animal feed. Schools can contract with a farmer or manufacturer to collect:
- Food prep waste
- Plate waste
- Unpackaged spoiled, outdated or frozen food
- Food by-products
- Bakery goods
Farms provide lined plastic carts on wheels that are cleaned each time they are collected. Food sent to farms is cooked to eliminate harmful bacteria.
- Barthold Recycling, 763-444-7447, St. Francis
- ReConserve (formerly Endres), 651-438-3113, Rosemount
- Sanimax, 651-451-6858, 505 Hardman Ave. S., South St. Paul
- Second Harvest Farms, 763-434-9044, Cedar
- Winona Farm, 507-454-3126, Winona
Businesses and organizations can get free container labels, educational resources, funding and technical assistance through County's Business Recycling Program.