How Pittsburgh Restaurants are Being Encouraged to Share their Leftovers

412 Food Rescue and Sustainable Pittsburgh are partnering on a program called Restaurants Against Food Waste Month.


412 Food Rescue, the Pittsburgh-based non-profit with a mission to help alleviate hunger by rerouting food that might otherwise have been discarded, has, to date, rescued more than 6.8 million pounds of surplus food. Those comestibles typically come from grocery stores, bakeries, commercial food producers, large catering events and farms (in the form of its “Ugly CSA”). Noticeably absent from that mix, until now, are Pittsburgh restaurants.

“Often, when someone calls to donate, they ask how much is enough. This is a particular concern to restaurants because they don’t have a ton of waste. But they do often have a few servings or a pan of something leftover, and there really is a possibility to partner with us,” says Jennifer England, 412 Food Rescue’s senior program director, food recovery operations.

To that end, 412 Food Rescue is partnering with Sustainable Pittsburgh for a program called Restaurants Against Food Waste, which will run in October. “We have similar interests and goals reducing food waste and addressing the needs of our communities,” says Rebecca Bykoski, Sustainable Pittsburgh’s program manager.

Participating restaurants will be able to coordinate via the 412 Food Hero app the transfer of leftover prepared food and surplus ingredients to one of 412 Food Rescue’s non-profit partners; the volunteer who makes the exchange will be eligible to win a gift certificate from one of the participating restaurants. Additionally, Consumer Produce and Sysco have committed to providing prizes for the restaurants. There are 20 registered so far, and that number is expected to rise in the next few days. England says interested establishments are encouraged to sign up throughout the month.

“This is an opportunity for restaurants to see it’s accessible and easy to participate in making sure no food goes to waste,” says England.

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