Community Stories

Engaging 900 San Diego County Residents In Reducing Household Food Waste

In October 2019, the Alliance launched the Save the Food, San Diego! EcoChallenge: an innovative social competition engaging individuals and households in fun, food waste tracking challenges, with the goal of reducing food waste through consumer education.

By the end of the program, EcoChallenge participants achieved a 38% reduction in household food waste, as compared to their baseline food waste levels when they started the program.

The Alliance partnered with 6 institutions in San Diego County – 2 corporate campuses, 2 university campuses, and 2 jurisdictions – to engage their students, staff, faculty, and employees in the EcoChallenge program. Across these partner institutions, close to 900 participants were recruited and tasked with weighing, recording, and tracking their household food waste over a period of 15 months.

Between each food waste tracking period during the EcoChallenge program, targeted consumer education campaigns were implemented to provide participants with tips, tricks, and strategies for reducing food waste at home. Campaign strategies primarily focused on food waste prevention to align with the highest priority strategy of the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy. Topics of focus for the campaign included meal planning, smart grocery shopping, proper food storage, zero waste cooking, social, environmental, and economic impacts of wasted food, sustainable food systems, and climate change.

For more information about the details and methodology behind the EcoChallenge program, check out our case study published by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

“Funded by a Grant from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) through California Climate Investments”.

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