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Sustainable Management of Food

Links and Resources About Food Recovery in Honolulu

Food Recovery Hierarchy Triangle in Six Steps. Top (most preferred) to bottom (least preferred): Source Reduction, Feed Hungry People, Feed Animals, Industrial Uses, Composting, and Landfill/Incineration.Click image to enlarge it.

Learn about some food recovery alternatives in the Honolulu area. EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy prioritizes these food waste strategies from most to least preferable.

On this page:

Source Reduction

Source reduction is the strategy of preventing food from becoming waste in the first place. There are many resources available to tackle source reduction:

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Feed Hungry People (Donations)

The resources below include national, regional and local organizations which take food donations in the Honolulu area. Most take non-perishables, and some accept surplus perishable foods. Be prepared to describe your donations in terms of packaging, preparation, frequency and type.

  • Aloha Harvest Food Rescue: Picks up and delivers perishable food the same day to feed the hungry.
    • Website Exit
    • 3599 Waialae Ave No. 23, Honolulu, HI 96816; (808) 537-6945
    • Criteria for food donations:
      - Verbal commitment
      - Five lbs or more for pick up
      - Prepared in a certified kitchen - 24-hour notice
  • Food Pantries - Many have varying or limited capabilities for storing food donations and therefore limit the types or timing of donations. It’s often best to contact several to determine which can use your donations. Below are links to find local food pantries.
Food Pantry Contact Hours
Salvation Army – Family Services Office 1931 North King Street
Honolulu, HI 96819
(808) 841-5565
Wednesday & Friday:
1:30 - 3:30 pm
Call to confirm
  • Rock and Wrap It Up!: Website Exit; Matches vetted charities with eligible donors of perishable food including entertainment venues, hotels, K-12 schools and colleges, sports teams, and hospitals. Offers the free “Whole Earth CalculatorExit  to convert pounds of food to pounds of CO2 equivalent (CO2e).
  • Sustainable AmericaWebsite EXIT; Locate Food Rescue organizations. 
  • ReFed Innovator Database: Website EXIT The Database is a living compilation of commercial and nonprofit entities turning the food waste problem into an opportunity for economic, social, and environmental impacts. This growing database is broken down by food waste solution type, organizational status, and geographic reach. Categories include secondary marketplaces that connect surplus food (food that would otherwise be wasted) to buyers. Food product creation organizations convert edible food that is currently considered waste (e.g., surplus/cosmetically challenged produce, brewery waste, vegetable trimmings) into value-added consumer food products (e.g., juices, fruit snacks, energy bars). The Database also list variety of food recovery organizations that capture edible food that would otherwise go to waste on farms, within the supply chain, or in consumer-facing businesses, and redistributes it to food insecure populations.
  • Food Banks: Regional food banks work with local food pantries, homeless shelters and other charities for food donation. While many food banks are unable to accept perishable and prepared food, they often work with donors to find perishable food options nearby. Listed below is the main food bank in the Honolulu area.
Donation Center Location Contact Type of Food Accepted
Hawaii Food Bank Exit 2611 Kilihau St.
Honolulu, HI 96819
(808) 836-3600 Non-perishables; sealed perishable foods, fresh produce. Cannot accept prepared foods, but will refer to agencies that can.
New Legal Guide

New legal guide on Federal Enhanced Tax Deduction for Food Donation Exit

(1) LIABILITY OF PERSON OR GLEANER – A person or gleaner shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that the person or gleaner donates in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.
- Courtesy of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act

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Feed Animals

Pig/Hog Farms: Large pig farms may accept food scraps. The Federal Swine Health Protection Act requires that food containing, or that comes in contact with meat or animal materials must be boiled before being fed to pigs. Consequently, many local pig farmers are primarily interested in single-stream fruits and vegetables or grain waste. Arrangements are often informal, and can be intermittent.

Organization Service Contact
University of Hawaii Swine Specialist Connects interested businesses in Honolulu with pig farmers able to accept their food scraps. (808) 956-7594
EcoFeed Inc. Picks up and delivers food scraps to local pig farmers; contact for pricing 1059 Makepono Street, Honolulu 96819, (808) 841-5586

Spent Brewery Grain: Spent brewery grain can be used as animal feed, primarily for cattle, but also for pigs, goats, fish and almost any livestock. Most breweries give the grain away to local farms. Manufacturers with single food waste streams can find local farms and ranches to donate their excess/by-product.

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Industrial Uses

Fats, oils and grease, also known as FOG, can be converted to fuels and has various industrial uses. FOG and food scraps can also be anaerobically digested to create energy and the digestate can be composted to create a soil amendment. Honolulu area options and resources include:Picture of cooking oil drum waste container

  • Waste to Biogas Resources: Searchable database of local biogas facilities that may accept FOG or food waste. The City of Honolulu wastewater treatment plants do not currently accept FOG or food waste for co-digestion.
  • Pacific Biodiesel Logistics
    • Collects FOG throughout the Honolulu Area for biodiesel
    • Website Exit; (808) 851-7117
  • Restaurants for Renewables: Website Exit; Community-based FOG recycling program; (808) 877-3144
  • Baker Commodities Inc./Island Commodities:  Honolulu, (808) 682-5844; collects FOG

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Food Scraps Composting

Composting turns food scraps into a nutrient-rich soil amendments and can be done on site in smaller amounts or on a larger scale at a municipal or commercial level.

  • Produce and Food Scraps Compost contact:City & County of Honolulu, Recycling Specialist - 768-3426, 

  • Find a Composter: Searchable database of local composting facilities Exit  that may accept food waste; results from January 2015 search are included in the table below.
Composting Facility Location Hours Contact
Baker Commodities:Exit
  • FOG collection and recycling
  • Composting of food waste
Island Commodities
91-269 Olai St
Kapolei, HI 96707-793
Scheduled collection (808) 682-5844
Hawaiian Earth Products Exit(Ecofeed does all the pickups; accepts pre-consumer fruit, veggies, grain; no food scraps) Hawaiian Earth Products (Campbell)
91-400 Malakole Road
Kapolei, Hi 96707
Monday-Friday:7:00 am to 3:30 pm
Saturday: 7:00 am to 3:30 pm
Sunday: Closed
Phone: (808) 682-5895
Fax: (808) 682-0762

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Honolulu Food Recovery Successes:Picture of food wastes.

  • Kapiolani Community College uses commercial vermicomposting (worms) and specially designed and enclosed composting vessel for commercial foodscraps. Learn more on their website Exit
  • Kona Brewing has spent grains picked up by local farmers to feed cattle, with the remainder used as an ingredient in the pub’s pizza and bread dough. They also send all kitchen scraps to local pig farmers and recycle all grease through local bio-fuel companies. Check out their website Exit
  • Foodland Super Market has 30 stores (23 Foodland, 7 Sack N Save) on four major islands, and annually diverts 900,000 pounds of meat and seafood from 19 Oahu stores for agricultural feed, 670,000 pounds of produce scraps from 14 stores for pig feed, 300,000 pounds of organic waste from 5 stores for organic fertilizer, and 45 tons of food for donations to the Hawaii Food Bank. Find out more on their website Exit

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