Did You Know? Reducing Food Waste

In 2021, the Helena City Commission adopted a Resolution to establish a goal for the City to reduce solid waste disposal to landfills by 50% by 2040, with an interim target of 35% reduction by 2030.

Nearly 40% of all food produced in the United States goes uneaten, with 95% of it going into landfills. Food waste is the largest component of municipal solid waste at 21%. Helena Food Share plays a vital role in reducing the amount of food that would otherwise end up in the landfill by collecting donated food from 17 local stores

This past year (July 2021 through June 2022), Helena Food Share rescued 896,066 lbs. of food. Rescued food accounts for 40% of the food distributed in the Pantry. Once drivers bring rescued food to the Pantry, volunteers sort and stock the food or prepare it for delivery to other local entities, with 80,475 lbs. distributed through other agencies in FY21.

Some donated items cannot go into the Pantry because they  are too old or have some spoilage. Rather than throwing it away, we set it aside for local farmers who pick it up daily

for livestock feed. 39,476 lbs. of food were reallocated to farm use last year.

In addition to repurposing food, all suitable packaging – cardboard, glass, aluminum cans, and plastic – is recycled, keeping it out of the landfill. Some recyclable materials gain a second life at Helena Food Share. Food in the Pantry is packed into cardboard boxes recycled from area liquor stores for customers to carry their groceries home. Some customers return those boxes to be used again. Donated plastic bags and egg cartons are also used for product packaging in the Pantry, giving them a longer life. Finally, all garden waste is composted and used to fertilize next year’s garden.

At Helena Food Share, we will continue to look for new opportunities to play a significant role in helping reach the City’s goals to reduce waste in Helena.

Reducing Food Waste

Grocery Rescue

Helena Food Share works with each and every grocery store in Helena to rescue edible food that grocers cannot sell. This partnership accounts for 40 percent of the food on Helena Food Share’s shelves and keeps hundreds of thousands of pounds of food from landfills each year. In 2020, local grocery stores donated over 1 million pounds of food to Helena Food Share.

Thanks to our partnership with the following Helena-area businesses, we are supporting our neighbors in need while reducing food waste.

 

Grocery Rescue Partner - Albertsons Logo

Bimbo Bakeries

Grocery Rescue Partner - Bobs Valley Market Logo

Grocery Rescue Partner - Heritage Foods Logo

Grocery Rescue Partner - Natural Grocers Logo

Grocery Rescue Partner - Real Food Market and Deli Logo
Grocery Rescue Partner - Safeway Logo

Super 1 Foods

Grocery Rescue Partner - Vans Thriftway Logo
Grocery Rescue Partner - Walmart Logo

WinCo Logo

 

Helena-area businesses: If you want to make a difference as a Grocery Rescue Partner, call our Operation Program Director, Kim Dale, at 443-3663 ext 110 to find out how you can get involved.

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