40% of our food is wasted in America, and here in Deschutes County, it is estimated that a quarter of what goes into our local landfill is wasted food. We’re better than that. It’s time to rethink food waste, and we want to help you do it.

First, take stock of how much food you actually end up wasting. Then, use our tips to help you plan and utilize your food better.


Take the Rethink Food Waste Challenge!

You can challenge yourself and your household or you can recruit your book club, church group, or HOA to do your own challenge! Below are all the tools you need to do it. Participating in a challenge can really make difference in your wasted food and it can make your wallet heavier.

There’s proof! 213 households in Deschutes County signed up to take the Rethink Food Waste Challenge between May 14 and June 11, 2018. Overall, there was over a 40% reduction in the amount of food that went in the trash can in these households. That’s huge! What if you reduced your wasted food by 40%? How much money would you save? And what if you could share the information you learned with 1 or 5 other people? How low can Deschutes County go??

What is it? Here’s the gist:

For four weeks, you and your group of food waste prevention warriors will commit to collecting and weighing your weekly wasted food. The first week you will do things as you normal. The following 3 weeks you will implement tools, read about tips, ideas and resources and make small changes and prevent wasting food. Chances are, you will see a difference.

What do I need to do and what do I need to know?

Below is a list of all the documents that were released during the official Deschutes County Rethink Food Waste Challenge.

Press release

Week 1 – Do as you  normally do
Nothing special, just keep on keepin on. (Baseline data).
Introduction E-mail
E-mail #2

Week 2 – Shop Smarter
E-mail #1
Week 2 Tools: Shop Smarter Menu Planning FormEat First Refrigerator Cards
Blog: Shop Smarter – Learn how to shop your fridge and freezer first, use an “Eat First” basket. Use what you have!
E-mail #2
Blog: Shop Smarter and Technology – Learn about using technology to prevent food waste.

Week 3 – Prep Smarter
E-mail #1
Week 3 Tool: Prep Smarter Information Sheet
Blog 1: Prep Smarter – Learn about prepping, batch cooking, using lists, using your freezer and the art of the quick pickle.
E-mail #2
Blog 2: Food Waste and Children – Tips on living with a kid from her mother.

Week 4 – Store Smarter
E-mail #1
Week 4 Tool: Store Smarter Information Sheet
Blog 1: Learn about the best ways to store your food and also how to navigate dates on food products.
E-mail #2
Blog 2: Learn about what else is going on in the world to combat food waste.

Week 5 – Post Challenge
E-mail #1

Challenge overview

You can download the official challenge document below or you can select individual tools.

Complete document: Rethink Food Waste Challenge Document
Week 1: Do as your normally do! Nothing special, just keep on keepin on. (Baseline data).
Week 2 Tools: Shop Smarter Menu Planning FormEat First Refrigerator Cards
Week 3 Tool: Prep Smarter Information Sheet
Week 4 Tool: Store Smarter Information Sheet


Contact [email protected]


America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day Quiz!

Did you know you can recycle 5 gallon plastic buckets in your household recycling bin in Deschutes County? Or that there are 7 locations you can bring your rechargeable batteries after you’ve charged the life out of them? America Recycles Day is a day to pledge to learn, act and share: Learn. I will find […]

Hong Hao's patterns of consumption

So. Many. Events. Waste & Consumption Week at Sustain Central Oregon!

It’s always busy come springtime here at The Environmental Center, but this year there are even more events to participate in thanks to our partnership with COCC and our collaborative month of events called Sustain Central Oregon.  The last week is themed Consumption & Waste, and here’s everything going on you don’t want to miss! […]

old cell phones

Sunriver Nature Center Wants Your Old Cell Phone!

  Sunriver Nature Center is now accepting limited electronic items for recycling as a fundraiser for their non profit programs.  Items include: Cell Phones CDs & DVDs GPS Devices MP3 players Digital Cameras Inkjet/toners and printer cartridges   The Sunriver Nature Center is located at 57245 River Road, Sunriver.  Clean out your junk drawer and use it […]