Eugene is engaging businesses and making a profit by converting food waste to compost through the Love Food Not Waste program.

Launched in 2011, Love Food Not Waste is a commercial food waste collection program encouraging 200 participating locations to appropriately dispose of food waste, considering its full life-cycle and upstream impacts. A partnership between the City of Eugene, local waste haulers, commercial compost facilities, local businesses, and local retailers, Love Food Not Waste makes waste collection appealing by offering free support services, marketing materials, and monetary incentives. The waste collected is turned into compost and sold as a 100% recycled product on the retail market. A portion of the proceeds go back to the city outreach program, along with a portion donated to local non-profits and schools in Eugene.

By engaging stakeholders from the start, the project has blossomed into a community messaging platform about food waste prevention, diversion, recovery, and rescue. Since its inception, more than 8,000 tons of food waste has been collected, and bagged compost is now sold in more than 80 locations in four states, as well as incorporated into numerous soil amendments sold in Eugene.

2,400 tons of CO2 emissions estimated to have been reduced since 2011 under the program

The challenge

Food waste is a big contributor to the city’s emissions, with approximately 4,000 tons of greenhouse gases produced per 8,000 tons of this waste to landfill. The Love Food Not Waste Program reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and generates a product that sequesters carbon.


Economic The Love Food Not Waste program has developed a market for food waste in Eugene, with seven local retailers selling the compost.

Environmental The creation of compost under the project has resulted in healthy soil production in school gardens, increasing the city’s ability to sequester carbon.

Social The Love Food Not Waste program builds social capacity around the issue of food waste in the region by partnering with local non-profits to explain the importance of food waste prevention.

About Eugene

Eugene is a city of the Pacific Northwest located in the U.S. state of Oregon. It is the second most populous city in the state (after Portland) and the 146th largest metropolitan statistical area in the US. Eugene is home to the University of Oregon and the city is also noted for its natural environment, recreational opportunities, and focus on the arts. Eugene’s official slogan is “A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors”. It is also referred to as the “Emerald City”.

Global Goals addressed