Skip to main content

Press Releases

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is recognizing April 1-7 as “Food Waste Prevention Week” by demonstrating the County's commitment to reducing wasted food as part of its “Aim for Zero Waste” initiative.  The County kicked off Food Waste Prevention Week today when County Executive Marc Elrich and DEP Director Jon Monger visited the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg. Manna works to eliminate hunger through food distribution, education and advocacy.

The week highlights the nationwide environmental, social and economic impacts of wasted food. DEP estimates that approximately 89,000 tons of food waste or food scraps are thrown in the trash in the County each year.   

 As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce food waste, increase edible food recovery and increase recycling of food scraps, DEP’s comprehensive programs address food scraps at various levels. The Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership program offers technical assistance, education and training to businesses and organizations to help them implement commercial food scrap recycling programs. DEP is also managing a food scraps curbside recycling program for residents of single-family homes with the goal of creating a County-wide program.  

 “Montgomery County is committed to serving as a model for both the State and the United States through continuous improvement of our materials management system," said County Executive Elrich. “It is often said, ‘You are what you eat,’ but wasting what we don’t eat can hurt our environment. We all need to take steps to reduce food waste, which is a part of our aiming for zero waste. Through this work, we are helping create a more sustainable future for Montgomery County and beyond."  

DEP Mana

 To meet the County’s zero waste and climate action goals, DEP continues its “Food Is Too Good to Waste” education campaign with ideas on preventing wasted food. At the same time, DEP is collaborating with its Edible Food Recovery Working Group to develop recommendations to increase edible food donations to redistribute it to help those in need.   

 “We are excited to continue working with local businesses, institutions, and food service providers to make sure surplus edible food stays out of the waste stream and gets to those in need,” said DEP Director Monger. "Consumable food like prepared meals, baked goods, fresh produce, and canned or boxed food, can be saved from disposal and donated to food rescue organizations. By redirecting this food to people with unmet needs, we can ensure that it is put to the best use to help address food insecurity and protect our environment."  

 The Manna Food Center is among the members of the Edible Food Recovery Working Group and is currently administering the countywide Community Food Rescue network of food donors and food assistance providers that connect edible food donations to people who need it. 

“As members of the Edible Food Recovery Working Group, we are proud to partner with Montgomery County in strengthening County-wide solutions to preventing food waste,” said Jenna Umbriac, Manna Food Center’s director of programs and policy. “Through Community Food Rescue, Manna Food Center is working with nearly 200 farmers, food service industry members and nonprofit organizations in a coordinated food recovery system to keep safe, nutritious, surplus food from being thrown away and instead sharing it with County residents.”  

 Montgomery County residents and businesses are encouraged to participate in Food Waste Prevention Week by learning about reducing wasted food. This includes:   

  • Donating consumable foods to food rescue organizations, food pantries and shelters.  
  • Creating a shopping list and buying only what is needed.  
  • Using leftovers in planning future meals.  
  • Storing foods correctly to reduce spoilage.  
  • Serving smaller portion sizes.  
  • Learning more about food expiration dates.  

 For more information about DEP’s Food Waste Recycling initiatives, visit the Food Scraps/Food Waste Recycling website. Visit the DMV Food Waste Prevention Week website for information about area-wide activities throughout the week.  

# # #  


Release ID: 24-153
Media Contact: Cindy Peña 202-875-1563
Categories: Environment