What to Know About Donating Your Company’s Leftover Meals


In our busy office lives, it’s easy to forget about what happens to the leftover lunch food after our bellies are full. Today is Stop Food Waste Day and no better time to reflect on what exactly happens to the excess food that we create on a daily basis.

Of the many ways to give back, reducing food waste is an important one. Not only is food waste harmful for the environment, it’s a missed opportunity to feed the hungry. We have more than enough food to go around, yet more than 41 million people lack a steady supply of food.

With the help of food recovery services like Replate, donating excess food— whether it’s leftovers from a catered lunch or a big box of fruit that will go uneaten over the weekend — is an easy way to put your company’s leftovers into the hands of those in need. Aside from improving lives and the environment, your company will also enjoy benefits like tax deductions and a boost in employee morale.

As you create an action plan for reducing food waste via food donations in honor of Stop Food Waste Day (or any day), here are three things to know:

Answering the liability question.

Will my company be liable if the donated food makes someone ill? This is one of our most frequently asked questions and the short answer is: no. Federal and state laws like the Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and the California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protect you from being liable. They were created precisely to encourage companies to donate their food without worry.

Although the law protects you, most food recovery services will also take extra steps to ensure food safety and quality. At Replate, for example, we transport meals from fridge-to-fridge as soon as possible, always in under two hours. Major companies like Facebook, Yelp, and Amazon confidently use food recovery services like Replate and are further proof that food donations are a viable, safe way to give back to the community.

What’s next for you: Although there’s no reason that liability should stop you from donating food, there are plenty of resources available for exploring the topic further. ReFed’s U.S. Food Waste Policy Finder, for example, is a helpful tool that breaks down federal and state regulations on food donations. We at Replate are also always available to demystify any questions you may have. Use the chat tool on our website to get in touch.

Donate wholesome meals hassle-free.

Donate wholesome meals hassle-free.

Go green and you’ll get green.

Food donations can boost your company’s bottom line in several ways. Up first: tax incentives. As a company donating food, you’ll have two tax deductions to pick from. This includes 1) a general federal deduction for charitable donations made to qualified organizations, or 2) an enhanced federal deduction for donations made to charitable organizations that care for the ill, needy, or infants. An enhanced deduction has greater savings potential, so it’s a good idea to read up on the eligibility requirements before starting your donations.

Donating food can also reduce your company’s waste disposal fees by qualifying you for diversion discounts on your monthly bill. The savings will vary depending on your waste collector, but it’s been proven that improving your food waste management overall is valuable: a WRI study shows that for every $1 a company invested in food loss and waste reduction, they receive a $14 return on investment.

What’s next for you: Estimating exactly how much your company could save is incredibly helpful for getting higher ups on board with donating food leftovers. Read up on the resources linked above to understand your options and reach out to us for a cost savings estimate to share with your team.

Donating food is good for everyone.

Donating food is good for everyone.

Do good for the planet (and your business).

At the end of the day, donating your excess food has an immediate impact on your community. Thanks to food recovery technology, you can feed someone in need while reducing your company’s food waste — all with the click of a button. Your donation has a ripple effect of good because you are also creating employment opportunities for food rescuers, food coordinators at donor locations, and us at Replate HQ!

Doing good for your community also leads to happier employees. A Cone Communications study found that 88 percent of millennials find their job more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues. Replate customer Twitch.TV is well aware of this and sees food donations as an opportunity “to involve employees and have them be more mindful and aware of food waste.”

What’s next for you: Now that you understand all the potential benefits of donating excess food, it’s time to give it a try to see how the process works. Use Replate to request your first pick up today. Try it at least once, and chances are you’ll see just how easy it is to make a difference.

A few our donation plans.

A few our donation plans.

Going above and beyond.

Reducing food waste by donating leftovers is a great starting point for making an environmental impact, but there’s always more to do. Take advantage of your engaged workforce and empower them to reduce waste in other ways — whether that’s stocking up on dishware instead of paper plates or placing helpful disposal instructions above your waste bins. When all is said and done, nothing can be more rewarding than knowing your company is doing right by its people and the planet.

We put up signs at Replate HQ and love ‘em!

We put up signs at Replate HQ and love ‘em!

Using Replate is easy and we’re here to help you along the way. Let us help you put smiles on hungry faces and request a pick up today!

Eva Nierenberg