Resource Directory

Policy & Strategy Resources


Groups & Organizations


Resources for Businesses


Resources for Institutions


Event & Venue Resources



Prevent | Rescue | Recycle

Policy & Strategy Resources

Local and Municipal Policy Resources

2022 Chicago Climate Action Plan - See Pillar 2: Build circular economies to create jobs and reduce waste. According to the plan, the collection, transportation, processing, and treatment of solid waste and wastewater account for 7% of Chicago’s GHG emissions. Goals to divert 90% of commercial, industrial, and institutional waste by 2030; and divert 90% of residential waste by 2040. 2022

2021 City of Chicago Waste Strategy - This report details more than 63 strategic recommendations to help address waste management, 12 of which are being prioritized by the City in 2021 and 2022. 2021

Chicago Food Equity Agenda - Over the winter of 2020, the Mayor’s Office, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and the Departments of Public Health (CDPH) and Family and Support Services (DFSS) convened a cross-sector working group of City and community food system experts to review past food plans and discuss emerging opportunities. 2021

City of Chicago Waste Strategy Existing Conditions: Waste in Chicago July 2021 - Organics and wasted food overview (page 21); existing policy overview (pages 39-42); City of Chicago proposed policies (page 42). 2021

NRDC Guide to Making a Public Commitment on Food Waste - Making a public commitment to reduce food waste is an important way to harness city leadership and constituent buy-in. It also increases accountability and can inspire other cities. This page details different types of commitments and guiding principles. 2020

NRDC Engaging Health Departments: Overview Guide - Since health departments, particularly health inspectors, frequently interact with food facilities, they are uniquely positioned to educate and inform food facilities about food waste reduction and food donation. In this guide, NRDC outlines some of the ways that health inspectors can help educate food facilities on how to prevent wasted food and donate surplus food. 2021

NRDC Tackling Food Waste in Cities: A Policy and Program Toolkit - This toolkit provides cities and other partners with an understanding of the range of policy and program options that they can use to reduce food waste, and to support informed decision making about what strategies may be most feasible and effective in their community. 2019

NRDC Food Waste: Strategic Communications and Partnership Guide - This guide includes a three-part framework for talking about food waste strategies and building support for both public and private investment in these strategies: messaging to your audiences, leveraging relationships, and earning media coverage that can help influence outcomes. 2019

State Policy Resources

ReFED US Policy Finder - Use this tool to find current policies at the state and federal levels.

Illinois Environmental Council Policy Platform 2023 - This annual report includes sections on Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems and Waste Reduction. 2023

Illinois Food Waste Action Plan - The priority solutions outlined in this plan have been selected by the Wasted Food Action Alliance as initial priorities for reducing wasted food and keeping wasted food out of our landfills. 2021

Enacted/Introduced/Active Food Scrap-Related Policy - This document contains a list of all enacted, introduced, and active policies related to food scraps and composting; compiled by The Illinois Food Scrap and Composting Coalition. 2022

COUNTY PLANNING - Goals for organics diversion from landfill and composting should be incorporated into county solid waste plans. The Illinois Solid Waste Planning and Recycling Act (415 ILCS 15/1 et seq.) was approved on August 23, 1988 and requires all Illinois counties to plan for the management of solid waste generated within the county for a 20-year planning period. Counties typically update their plans every five years. The plan must describe the current and proposed facilities for the management of the waste stream and evaluate the proposed solid waste facilities and programs. Finally, the plan must include a recycling program designed to recycle 25% of the waste generated within the County.


Federal Policy Resources

ReFED US Policy Finder - Use this tool to find current policies at the state and federal levels.

Federal Food Waste Policy - A directory of federal food waste resource; Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic.

US Food Loss & Waste Policy Action Plan for Congress & the Administration - Founding partners inlcude Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic, Natural Resources Defense Council, ReFED, and World Wildlife Fund.

EPA’s “Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures” provides estimates of the amount of food waste generated by sector, as well as the amounts being managed by several management pathways. In September 2021, EPA updated the baseline to align the 2030 goal with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Target 12.3


United States 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal - On September 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EPA announced the U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction goal, the first-ever domestic goal to reduce food loss and waste. The goal seeks to cut food loss and waste in half by the year 2030. 

In October 2018, EPA, USDA, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed a formal agreement (pdf) to affirm their shared commitment to reduce food loss and waste, coordinate action to leverage government resources, and improve communication efforts to educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste. In December 2020, the three agencies renewed the agreement (pdf), reaffirming their commitment.

In April 2019, the three agencies developed the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Federal Interagency Strategy to reduce food waste, prioritizing six action areas in which to coordinate efforts. FY 2019-2020 Federal Interagency Strategy to Reduce Food Waste (pdf).

EPA, USDA, and FDA developed annual federal interagency inventories of actions under the Strategy:

April 2019 - April 2020 Inventory of Actions (pdf)
May 2020 – April 2021 Inventory of Actions (pdf)

Groups & Organizations



Chicago Food Equity Council

Chi FLoW People and Projects

Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) - Non-profit organization that co-develops, facilitates, advocates for, and supports implementation of policies that advance food justice and food sovereignty in Chicago and across the region.

Chicagoland Food Sovereignty Coalition - A coalition of autonomous mutual aid groups working to create an equitable and sustainable community-based food system in Chicago. Their mission is to create a better food system by linking mutual aid groups, organizations, businesses, and individuals committed to the effort.

Chicago Sustainbility Task Force - A group of large facility operators, event organizers, & their stakeholders taking action to improve operational sustainability and environmental awareness in Chicago.


Farm to Food Bank Program - Seeks to connect food banks with farms to purchase products like fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, meat, and eggs directly from farmers. This is a unique opportunity to identify and build a long-term market and infrastructure for Illinois farmers and Illinois food banks.

Feeding Illinois - Coordinates and supports the collective, collaborative efforts of its member food banks and a diverse network of community partners and programs in providing equitable access to a healthy, adequate supply of food for all Illinois neighbors in need.

Illinois Farm to School Network - The Illinois Farm to School Network is comprised of teachers, early care providers, food service staff, farmers, and many others who are working to change food purchasing and education practices in their communities. Provides training, connects partners, and shares resources about all aspects of farm to school — local food sourcing, food & nutrition education, and on-site gardening; free programs provide feeding, garden and education sites with a platform on which they can share local and garden foods, food education and celebration of healthy, local food.

Illinois Food Scrap & Composting Coalition - The Illinois Food Scrap & Composting Coalition (IFSCC) is a thriving not-for-profit organization advancing diversion and composting of all organics in Illinois through advocacy, program implementation, market and business development, policy, and outreach.

Illinois Stewardship Alliance - We are an alliance of farmers and eaters. Our mission is to find, connect, train and amplify the leadership of farmers and eaters who use their choices and their voices to shape a more just and regenerative local food and farm system. Our statewide community unites to educate policymakers and form a powerful voice that has a seat at every table where decisions are made.

Wasted Food Action Alliance - 


Food Recovery Network - Student-led; unites volunteers to collect surplus food from college campuses and deliver it directly to local soup kitchens and shelters.

Food Rescue Hero - The organization’s app, Food Rescue Hero works to reduce food waste by alerting volunteer drivers to pick up and distribute surplus food. The organization is now working to reduce food insecurity in six regions in the U.S. and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Food Tank - A global community pushing for food system change.

Save the Food - Consumer facing communication tools developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Natural Resources Defense Council/Food - Works to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities.

ReFED - A network of business, nonprofit, and government leaders using data to discover new ways to fight food waste. ReFED has identified 27 points of­ the food chain where waste can be reduced: first through prevention—like standardizing date labeling and educating consumers—then recovery—like redistributing food to people in need—then recycling—such as converting would-be wasted food into energy and animal feed. By implementing these solutions, the team projects that 20 percent of food waste can be reduced over the next decade.

US EPA Food: Too Good to Waste Implementation Guide and Toolkit -

Resources for Businesses


Community Food Navigator - Community-powered organization that addresses challenges we face in the food system, such as accessing land, water, infrastructure, and funding. It is also a safe space for growers, producers, and organizers to share information, create community, and expand their work alongside others within the food system.

Farm to Food Bank Program - Seeks to connect food banks with farms to purchase products like fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, meat, and eggs directly from farmers. This is a unique opportunity to identify and build a long-term market and infrastructure for Illinois farmers and Illinois food banks.

REPORT: Composting in Chicago Community Gardens: A Social Analysis - DePaul Sustainable Food Systems Initiative. Feb 2020

Grocery Retail and Distribution

Wasted Food Action Alliance

  • Getting Started E.A.T.S. Checklist - Grocery Surplus Food Management
  • Whole Foods WM Case Study
  • Grocery Store/Food Manufacturing Case Studies
  • Grocery Warehouse Food Waste & Recovery Findings & Recommendations

CASE STUDIES: The Pacific Coast Food Waste Committment is a voluntary agreement that builds upon existing food waste reduction platforms and commitments – including United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 and Champions 2030 – and provides a critical opportunity for the Pacific Coast region to lead the country in addressing the environmental, food security, and climate change crisis of food waste.

CASE STUDY: Whole Foods Market Turns Food Scraps Into Fertilizer - Waste Management. 2012

Food Businesses and Restaurants

IFSCC Composting for Restaurants - ????  Explore this section for best practices and resources to start composting at your restaurant. Includes sections on How Illinois Restaurants Compost Food; What Can be Composted; How Much Composting Will Cost; and Start Composting Checklist - IFSCC E.A.T.S. How to Guide - Illinois Food Scrap & Composting Coalition.

NRDC Food Matters Food Waste Restaurant Challenge Guide - This guide details how to implement a restaurant (or other business) food waste challenge; based on the models in Nashville and Denver.

US EPA A Guide to Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment - Retail, food service, and other food management establishments can use the Food Waste Assessment Guidebook to learn how to take a "snapshot in time" of their wasted food by either manually sorting through materials in a garbage sample or by visually observing and estimating waste.

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine - Organization that picks up excess food from businesses and drives it to homeless shelters and soup kitchens across 16 cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, and New York.

Food Service Providers

Compass Group U.S. - 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Report: pages 44-72 - hosted the 2021 Stop Food Waste Day Virtual Event alongside Food Tank. The star-studded event featured 22 experts, influencers, and clients who provided insight and offered solutions to reduce food waste; Waste Not 2.0, Compass Group’s proprietary tool that leverages technology and analytics to track and record food waste types, amounts, and destination. Through this data, hospitals receive valuable insights to create new strategies and address food waste at the source.

Resources for Institutions

Toolkits and Mapping

IFSCC Composting for Institutions - Institutions (i.e. hospitals, museums, jails) with food service have several options for composting food scraps. Explore this section for best practices and resources to start composting at your institution.  Includes sections on How Illinois Institutions Compost Food; What Can be Composted; How Much Composting Will Cost; and Start Composting Checklist - IFSCC E.A.T.S. How to Guide - Illinois Food Scrap & Composting Coalition.

US EPA Excess Food Opportunities Map - Supports nationwide diversion of excess food from landfills. The interactive map identifies and displays facility-specific information about potential generators and recipients of excess food in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors and also provides estimates of excess food by generator type.

US EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM) - This tool helps organizations track and voluntarily report greenhouse gas emissions reductions from several different waste management practices.


Reducing Wasted Food in Illinois Hospitals & Healthcare Systems - Alliance for Health Equity and Wasted Food Action Alliance event resources include: VIDEO WEBINAR Illinois Hospital Food Recovery and Composting; Roundtable presentation deck; Questions & Answers from chat; and Expert and attendee contact info. 2022

VIDEO  The Rush Surplus Project

CASE  STUDY: Food Scrap Diversion and Composting Program at Rush Oak Park Hospital - Seven Generations Ahead

ARTICLE: Illinois medical center composts tons of food scraps: Hospital takes steps to reduce food waste in the name of sustainability. 2022


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Zero Waste Holidays - Staff members from the Nature Museum’s sustainability program, Chicago Conservation Corps (C3), put together some tips and tricks to make upcoming holiday dinners a little greener.

CASE STUDY: Testing Waste Diversion Design Strategies at The Field Museum - This blog piece from the Delta Institute describes the scientific approach the Museum is taking as it continues to look for opportunities to expand its composting operations. Nov 2015

Schools and Universities

Food Waste Reduction Toolkit for Illinois Schools - The Toolkit is a comprehensive resource that provides all schools, no matter their size or location, the tools to tackle the issue of wasted food. It identifies the main sources of wasted food and offers strategies for food waste prevention, recovery and redistribution, composting, education and engagement, and celebrating success. A variety of solutions are shared–from easy and quick to implement to longer term and more resource intensive. Developed by the Wasted Food Action Alliance and Seven Generations Ahead Zero Waste Schools Program.

Chicago Public Schools Commercial Composting & Recycling Program - A partnership between Seven Generations Ahead, CPS, and Lakeshore Recycling Systems. The 14 participating schools in this program have seen an 82% percent diversion rate of all of their cafeteria and kitchen waste, keeping over 2,700 lbs of materials out of landfills every day.

Lunchroom Waste Audit Guide - Seven Generations Ahead Zero Waste Schools Program.

Food Recovery Network - Student-led; unites volunteers to collect surplus food from college campuses and deliver it directly to local soup kitchens and shelters.

IFSCC Composting for Schools - Food scrap composting in school can provide opportunities to educate students about natural resources and help the environment. Explore this section for best practices and resources to start composting at your school. Includes sections on How Illinois Schools Compost Food; What Can be Composted; How Much Composting Will Cost; and Start Composting Checklist - IFSCC E.A.T.S. How to Guide - Illinois Food Scrap & Composting Coalition.

Event and Venue Resources

Guides and Toolkits

Bank of America Chicago Marathon sustainability - The Chicago Marathon sustainability program focuses on environmental stewardship, community engagement and outreach, accessibility and innovation. Following are somme of the practices that help to reduce wasted food:

  • The event requires food vendors to adhere to guidelines for acceptable recyclable and compostable materials which includes banning the use of styrofoam in Grant Park and at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo.
  • Following the race, volunteers hand out sustainability produced Michigan Apples, a locally sourced and healthy treat to refuel runners in the Runner Refreshment area.
  • Chiquita banana peels, compostable cups and other organic waste collected at the Zero Waste Stations and on course will be delivered to a local compost facility and turned into nutrient-rich soil amendment for donation and donated to local community gardens in the spring.
  • Unused food and water resources from the finish line are donated to the Chicago Food Depository.

Green Sports Alliance - Environmentally-focused trade organization that convenes stakeholders from around the sporting world (teams, leagues, conferences, venues, corporate partners, governmental agencies, athletes, and fans) to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play.

Zero Waste Event Planning Guide - Seven Generations Ahead.

Case Studies

CASE STUDY: Allstate Arena, Rosemont Illinois and Bright Beat - Implemented a custom, industry-leading recycling + composting program resulting in waste savings of $27,000+ in 3 years; Conducted comprehensive energy and waste audits; Secured over $100,000 in energy efficiency and recycling grants; Secured $23,000 in multi-year sustainability sponsorships; Created Sustainability Guidebook for program maintenance; Earned national publicity and multiple US-EPA awards.

CASE STUDY: Electric Forest Festival and Bright Beat - Recycled, reused and donated over 400 tons in 3 years; Won the US-EPA Region 5 Food Recovery Challenge Award; Implemented Food Waste Prevention Module in 2018, resulting in 57.6 tons of organics recycled and 14,400 meals donated to a local non-profit foundation helping the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of teens in need; Launched a Creative Reuse Program for forest artists and production material reuse / swap / donation, allowing for greater sharing of resources, prompting more creativity, benefiting the local community and reducing waste sent to the landfill.

CASE STUDY: FirstEnergy Stadium Home of the Cleveland Browns - pages 37-40 (Green Sports Alliance NRDC Champions of Game Day Food)

  • Grind-to-energy: In July 2013, in partnership with Ohio State University’s College of Agriculture, the Cleveland Browns installed a Grind2Energy system to help direct food waste to anaerobic digestion. The system grinds food waste into slurry and stores it in a holding tank; the contents are then transported to a facility in urban Cleveland five miles from FirstEnergy Stadium. It is then fed into an anaerobic digester operated by Quasar Energy to create biogas and fertilizer.
  • Food rescue: Leftover, unused food is donated to the Cleveland Food Bank after each game. In 2013, more than 10,000 pounds of food was donated.

CASE STUDY: Petco Park Home of the San Diego Padres - pages 53-56 (Green Sports Alliance NRDC Champions of Game Day Food)

  • Local sourcing: The Padres source local and organic foods when available.
  • Composting food scraps: All the concession stands and restaurants participate in a food waste diversion program. At the conclusion of any game or major event, food waste is compacted and subsequently taken to the Miramar Greenery to be turned into compost. Some of the finished compost is returned to the venue for groundskeeping purposes.