Blog Post

A BlueCart blog post recommends steps for managing unsold food inventory at businesses. Many businesses must manage surplus products due to reasons such as, overproduction, unpredictable demand, imperfections, or approaching code dates. However, with the Massachusetts Commercial Organics Waste Ban, businesses and institutions disposing one ton or more of food waste per week must divert the food waste from disposal.

BlueCart provides five steps for dealing with the surplus food products. The first step suggests exploring discounted food sale opportunities. The surplus food could potentially be donated or sold to nonprofit grocery stores or local commercial kitchens. For example, the Daily Table, in Dorchester, MA, a not-for-profit grocery store that sells discount products that are close to or past their display code dates.

Businesses and institutions must also comply with food waste regulations, and many states are passing food waste bans similar to the Massachusetts Commercial Waste Ban. To get started with a food donation program, BlueCart recommends RecyclingWorks Food Donation Guidance, which includes best practices for compliance and food donation legal fact sheets.

Another step is developing partnerships with local food banks and food rescue organizations. As RecyclingWorks’ Food Donation Guidance also suggests, it is important to build a network of partners that can accept your surplus food, in addition to pinpointing organizations that distribute the food to those in need.

Business and institutions should also understand tax benefits and liability protections revolving around food donation. The federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act provides liability protection for food donations made in good faith. RecyclingWorks worked with the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (HFLPC) to produce legal fact sheets for Massachusetts including date labeling, tax incentives, and liability protections.

Finally, recording and tracking metrics around food recovery and food donation is important. Metrics such as waste diverted, meals donation, water saved, help businesses and institutions understand to learn how to prevent and manage surplus in the future. Preventing surplus food can help businesses and institutions decrease environmental impact, keep your business in regulatory compliance, save money, and improve employee job satisfaction.

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts assists businesses and institutions with recycling and food waste reduction through composting and food donation. To speak to a recycling expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at