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Sustainable Management of Food

Links and Resources About Food Recovery in the Phoenix Area

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

EPA's Food Recovery Hierarchy, from most to least preferred. Source Reduction: Reduce the volume of surplus food generated. Feed Hungry People: Donate extra food to food banks, soup kitchens, shelters. Feed Animals: Divert food scraps to animal feed. Industrial Uses: Provide waste oils for rendering and fuel conversion and food scraps for digestion to recover energy. Composting: Create a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Landfill/Incineration: Last resort to disposal.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:

Feed Hungry People (Donations)

The resources below include national, regional and local organizations which take food donations in the Phoenix 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.

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.

  • Ample Harvest
    Find a pantry near you on this non-profit's website.
  • Food
    See a list of Arizona food pantries on this non-profit's website. The following food pantries may accept perishable donations:
Food Pantry Contact Hours
Phoenix Rescue Mission - Kitchen & Shelter 1801 S 35th Ave,
Phoenix, AZ 85009
(602) 233-3000
Daily 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Cultural Cup Food Bank 342 E Thomas Rd,
Phoenix, AZ 85012
(602) 266-8370
Mon-Thu: 9:00 a.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Friendly House 113 W Sherman St,
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 257-1870
Mon-Thu: 8:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Salvation Army - Mesa Citadel Family Services 241 E. 6th St., Bldg. 3
Mesa, AZ, 85201
(480) 833-8322
Mon-Thu: 8:00 - 11:00 a.m.
& 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Fri: 8:00 - 11:30 a.m.
  • Rock and Wrap It Up!
    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 Calculator” to convert pounds of food to pounds of CO2 equivalent (CO2e).
  • Waste Not
    Picks up and delivers perishable food the same day; does not warehouse or store food.
    170 North Granite Reef Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257; (620) 721-3454
    Food Donation Hours: Monday-Friday: 6 am – 4 pm, Saturday: 6 am – 11 am
    Food Donation Criteria
    • Enough food to feed 20-25 people.
    • As much advance notice as possible; pick-ups are made during morning hours with deliveries scheduled for the afternoon.

    Service Area
    Trucks operate Monday through Saturday from the 101 West to the 101 East and from the 101 North, south to Chandler Boulevard. Can pick-up outside the service area, or connect with a facility that would appreciate the food donation.

  • The 3000 Club: Market on the Move
    Targeted at grocery stores, Market on the Move provides a farmers’ market atmosphere at various locations throughout Metro Phoenix and Tucson areas where partners and supporters of this program can make a $10 donation to receive up to 60 lbs. of fresh produce. Donations can be made at the host site.
  • Flash Food (mobile app)
    Connects food service businesses with donation options. The FlashFood mobile application offers food service businesses to donate perishable, unserved, leftover food to people in need, and take advantage of enhanced Federal tax deductions.
  • 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 are the main food banks in the Phoenix area.
Donation Center Location Contact Type of Food Accepted
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance 2831 N. 31st Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85009
(602) 242-FOOD (3663) Non-perishables; accepts perishable, but not prepared food; items need ingredient label
United Food Bank 245 South Nina Dr.
Mesa, AZ 85210
(480) 926-4897 Non-perishables; everything has to be sealed; works with agencies that prepare hot meals and can take perishables
Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank 10862 N 32nd St,
Phoenix, AZ 85028
(602) 867-9228 Mostly non-perishables, but do receive some doughnuts and bakery items; interested in perishables
  • ReFed Innovator Database
    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.

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.

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.

Industrial Uses

Picture of waste cooking oil drum containerFats, 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. Phoenix area options and resources include:

  • Baker Commodities Inc.
    FOG collection, grease trap maintenance
    (602) 254-5971
  • Grecycle
    Recycles cooking oil into fuels
    Pickup and drop-off locations
    (520) 628-4300

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.

  • Find a Composter
    Searchable database of local composting facilities that may accept food waste; results from January 2015 search are included in the table below.
Composting Facility Location Hours Contact
Recycled City Service area: Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Peoria, Glendale, Avondale, Goodyear, and Buckeye Weekly compost collection service with supplied bin (480) 269-5149
Singh Farms 8900 E Thomas Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Contact for info (480) 225-7199
Diversified Organics (Drop off/Self-Haul) 91st Ave 1/8mi s of Broadway
Tolleson, AZ 85353
Contact for info (480) 550-0858

Phoenix Food Recovery Successes

Picture of food wastes.Several Phoenix breweries, including Desert Eagle, Phoenix Ale, Four Peaks, and 8th Street Brewery, and SanTan Brewing donate spent grain to local customers for feed for horses, goats, and ostriches.

Sprouts Farmers Market donates produce that is no longer marketable, but still safe and edible to local Feeding America affiliate, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and Church. Sprouts Farmers Market plans to provide stores with compost bins to compost food that cannot be donated to the food rescue program.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open Golf Tournament Zero Waste efforts included replaced trash bins on the course with composting and recycling bins starting in 2012 in its effort to hold a zero waste event for its 500,000 spectators. The 2014 tournament recycling efforts conserved over 600 mature trees, 368,000 gallons of water, 471,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and nearly 1,000 yards of landfill space.

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