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More than one million pounds of food go to waste every day. Here's how one Austin organization repurposes it

Austin's State of the Food System reports that 1.24 million pounds of food go to waste every day.

AUSTIN, Texas — The City of Austin recently released its State of the Food System report. In the report, it highlights current challenges in the local food system and areas of opportunity. 

One of the big things this report looks into is food waste. Every day, 1.24 million pounds of food go straight to the trash in Austin.

"That's a major source of greenhouse gas emissions," said Edwin Marty, City of Austin food policy manager. 

When this food ends up in landfills, it generates methane, the most potent greenhouse gas.

"Decomposing food in landfills accounts for about 2% of our community’s total greenhouse gas emissions," the report stated.

One of the main reasons so much food ends up in landfills is because grocery stores and restaurants throw it away when it doesn't sell, or it's close to its "best by" date.

RELATED: New report says many people still struggle with access to food in Travis County

"It'll be like a bag of oranges where you get that one moldy orange in the whole bag, and the rest of the oranges are fine," said Linda Barden, Keep Austin Fed executive director. "Well, the grocery store pulls that from the shelves because nobody will pick up that one bag."

Keep Austin Fed is an organization hoping to give a new life to these still-good foods. Barden said they have partnerships with different restaurants and grocery stores. They pick up all the food still good that would otherwise go to the trash on a weekly basis.

"One of the restaurants we work with, they cut off those tips at the end of the tenderloin," she added. "And those are like the ugly bits of the steak. But, it's still delicious. And so they take all those tips, put them in a bag and freeze them for us."

Keep Austin Fed then sorts through the donated food and gives it to people in need. 

Last year alone, they were able to collect over 800,000 pounds of food.

For food that can't be recovered, composting is a great option. In fact, the City of Austin promotes composting by offering compost collection to all residential curbside customers.

The program collects food scraps, yard trimmings, food-soiled paper and natural fibers, and converts them into nutrient-rich compost. For more information on composting, click here.

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