Maine Home Food Waste Challenge 2023

The Maine Home Food Waste Challenge 2023 is officially over!

(January 9, 2023 – February 5, 2023)

Stay Tuned for the Maine Home Food Waste Challenge 2024!

Food Waste is a Problem- YOU Can Make a Difference!

Did you know…

  • 30-40% of the food that we produce is never eaten – and that the average family of four wastes almost $2000 per year on food that we throw away?
  • And in Maine, while our food prices are skyrocketing, food is still the single largest part of our trash!

Make a difference today…

  • Save nearly $24/person per week.
  • Save valuable fresh water, energy, and labor used to produce food that is thrown out.
  • Donations to food banks could triple and help end hunger in Maine.
  • Food trash would not go to landfills where it produces methane gas– a leading contributor to climate change.

Just take the Maine Home Food Waste Challenge 2023– and reduce your food waste for 30 days…

Collect and weigh your wasted food each week for four weeks starting Jan. 9, 2023.

We’ll send and share easy tips and resources to help you use every bit of your food – and reduce the waste each week.

We’ll track your progress – and your friends, family, and community – just check our MHFW Challenge Leaderboard right here each week!

For extra help, join our Facebook support page, or a local library group, or form your own Challenge group and share ideas, recipes, and help with reducing food waste.

Keep up the good work for 4 weeks and watch your food waste disappear – and of course, earn lots of online and real world recognition each week!

Want to do the Home Food Waste Challenge on your own?

Did you miss the 2023 Home Food Waste Challenge this January? No worries! You can still track your food waste outside of the competition to find out how much food your household is wasting. 

Here’s how it works: 

  1. Follow the challenge instructions to learn how to track your waste. (Link here).
  2. Record your food waste on this printable table (Link here).
  3. Week 1: Track your food waste without changing any of your typical habits- this will show you your home’s baseline for food waste
  4. Week 2: Track your food waste while using these tips (Link here). Did you waste less food?
  5. Week 3: Track your food waste while using these tips (Link here). Did you waste less food?
  6. Week 4: Track your food waste while using these tips (Link here). Did you waste less food?

Beyond the Maine Home Food Waste Challenge-

  • Keep collecting and reducing your food waste to save money, help your community, protect our beautiful Maine environment, and fight climate change.
  • Check our Food Rescue MAINE website and social media for new Maine food waste reduction tips and ideas for you and your community!
  • Attend the virtual Maine Food Waste Solutions Summit on April 14, 2023 – details to follow.

If you have questions or comments, please email:, or call: 207-581-3196. 

And remember, visit the Challenge Facebook Group to share your own Challenge experience, photos, and food waste reduction ideas with others!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: What is food waste?
Answer: Great question! And actually, there are several different ideas about how to divide food waste and how to denote it in different settings. Usually, people divide food waste into two labels: ‘edible’ and ‘inedible.’ The simple idea is that food waste is any food that could be consumed – but it is thrown away at the retail or consumption level.

Question: What is edible food waste?
Answer: Edible food waste goes hand in hand with the simple definition of food waste, because it is anything that you intend on consuming but ultimately throw away. The reason for edible food waste is usually because of food spoilage, improper storage, or purchasing too large of a quantity of a certain food item.

Question: What is inedible food waste?
Answer: Inedible food waste is a bit different from edible food waste! The parts of food that you do not intend to eat – such as peels, bones, rinds, and cores – are considered inedible. Essentially, any pieces or parts of food that you typically throw away because you do not plan on consuming them, are parts of inedible food waste.

Question: Why not differentiate between edible and inedible food waste in this Challenge?
Answer: There are several ways to go about denoting food waste, but we wanted to make one uniform measure for our Maine Home Food Waste Challenge 2023! The problem with
differentiating between edible and inedible food waste is that people set different criteria for what they will and will not eat. For example, you might throw away banana peels, but I
might eat them! This measure would then change our food waste values in the Challenge, though we both technically consumed one banana. The other, and main reason for including ALL food waste (edible and inedible) is that we want to focus on reducing all types of food waste. There are several interesting and edible ways to use these ‘inedible’ pieces of food – such as vegetable stock made from all types of vegetable trimmings. The goal of this Challenge is to reduce food waste in households all throughout Maine, so we want participants to count all kinds of food waste as a part of this goal!

Question: If I compost food waste, should I record it? Or do I only record the food I throw into the trash can?
Answer: For our Maine Home Food Waste Challenge 2023, we are focused on capturing all food waste in hopes of reduction for households. Of course, composting is better and more sustainable than sending food to landfills, but for this particular Challenge, we are interested in seeing how much food waste households can reduce by tracking for four weeks. We would recommend that you compost whatever food waste you collect
throughout the week rather than throwing it away, but that is up to you!

Question: If I have more than one person in my household, how do I count meals eaten out and meals eaten at home?
Answer: The point of our Maine Home Food Waste Challenge 2023 is to note how much food people waste, but the household size often differs between participants. When you submit your count for meals eaten out, you can choose one of the three categories based on the average of your household. For example, if you have a family of four and you went out to dinner twice in one week, you can simply answer that your household is in the category of ‘0-2’ meals eaten out per week. The categories help in decoding where your household is most likely to waste, and they help by separating people with different patterns. If I ate out 10 times per week and I only had one pound of food waste, this is likely because I barely ate at home. When you submit your count for meals eaten at home, you can submit the total number of meals for each member of your household – so if you are in a household of four people and you ate 20 meals at home this week with other members of your household, you can submit ‘20’ to make sure all people in your household are accounted for.

MHFW Challenge 2023 Leaderboards

Week 4 Leaderboard
Week 4 Leaderboard
Week 3 Leaderboard
Week 3 Leaderboard
Week Two Leaderboard
Week 2 Leaderboard
Week 1 Leaderboard
Week 1 Leaderboard