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Contact Information

  •   Dept Head: Susie Gordon
  •   PO Box 580, Fort Collins, CO 80522-0580
  •   215 N Mason St
    Fort Collins, CO 80524
  •   Alexis Hmielak
  •   YWhtaWVsYWtAZmNnb3YuY29t
  •   970.221.6600
  •   8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (M-F, except for holidays)

Recycling Updates Newsletter

Save Your Food

Save your food infographic Download PDF

In Fort Collins, food waste makes up approximately 23 percent of what residents throw in their trash. It’s not just banana peels or chicken bones – often it’s whole foods and ingredients that get tossed without being consumed.

The average household throws away one-quarter of all the food they buy – that’s like walking in the door with four grocery bags and dropping one straight into the trash each time you shop! Across the US, as much as 40 percent of all food grown ends up being wasted.

All that food waste comes at a cost – when you save your food, you also save money, water, and greenhouse gas emissions.

How Much Can We Save?

Food waste adds up:

  • Money: A family of four loses approximately $1,500 a year in wasted food. That would pay for the same family to make 26 trips to the movie theater – including popcorn and soda!
  • Greenhouse Gas: Food scraps decomposing in landfills are a major contributor to area greenhouse gas emissions -- emitting as much GHG per year as 1,750 passenger vehicles.
  • Water: Throwing away food also wastes the water it took to produce it, and it takes a lot of water to produce one pound of food:
    • Tomatoes: 26 gallons
    • Lettuce: 98 gallons
    • Apples: 100 gallons
    • Chicken: 500 gallons
    • Beef: 1,800 gallons – that’s equal to nearly a month’s water use of an average Fort Collins resident.

How to Save Your Food

Save your food drawing

Smart Shopping:

  • Plan your meals, make a list, and buy only what you need
  • Perfection is overrated – misshapen produce still tastes good!
  • Expiration Dates: know the difference between sell-by, use-by, best-by

Smart Storage:

  • Learn how to store foods to keep them fresher, longer.
  • Avocados, tomatoes, and most fruits and veggies do best in the fridge.
  • Bananas, mangoes, potatoes and onions prefer the countertop.
  • Freeze leftover bread, herbs, or sliced fruits and veggies to use later.

Smart Prep:

  • Prep your food after shopping – wash, dry, slice and dice so everything’s ready to cook on a busy weeknight.

Smart Savings:

  • Eat what you buy – including leftovers.
  • Get creative and try new recipes to use up food before it spoils.

Want more food-saving tips? Visit

Other Resources

Save the Food

Environmental Protection Agency – Food Too Good To Waste

Natural Resources Defense Council

US Geological Survey

Citations and Sources