In a landfill or someone’s belly? California steps up food rescue programs


The period between Thanksgiving and New Year is often called the “most wonderful time of the year,” and it’s also the most wasteful. 

Businesses and consumers in the Golden State toss nearly 6 million tons of food annually, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. And when all that food gets trucked and dumped into landfills, it can turn into methane, a greenhouse gas dozens of times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide.

To help save the planet and feed more people, the state of California, along with hunger relief groups, are trying to find better ways to rescue and recycle (often perfectly edible) food before it’s trashed. 

Rachel Wagoner is the director of CalRecycle, the state’s recycling department. She’s working with local governments and nonprofits to divert excess food from landfills by composting or rescuing it. Photo credit: Saul Gonzalez.