If surplus food or food scraps is a large part of your school's trash, collecting organics will give these materials a new life as food for others, compost or animal feed.
Certain schools will be required to collect back-of-house (non-public areas) food scraps in 2023. Schools have several options depending on the type of food scraps that are generated.
Prevent wasted food
School cafeterias offer an opportunity to reduce wasted food and educate students. Schools making small efforts to address wasted food can lead to large impacts over the course of a school year and beyond. Dakota County can provide expertise and resources to meet a school's unique needs. Find out how to implement best practices to prevent wasted food.
Collect food scraps for composting
Have your food scraps turned into valuable compost. Learn how to start or improve organics collection.
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
Food to 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- Unpackaged spoiled, outdated or frozen food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