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Learn how to repair, donate, and shop second-hand household items.


Below are resources related to donation, reuse, and waste reduction.  

Reuse DC Annual Report

Commercial Food Donation Guide

  • Learn how your commercial food business can donate food legally and safely. 

Zero Waste Events Guide 

  • Incorporate reusables in your event with the Zero Waste Events Guide.  

Zero Waste DC 

  • Have other waste questions? Zero Waste DC’s website has information for residents, businesses and more. From recycling to composting, it has lots of useful information.

DC Food Recovery Working Group 

  • You can learn more and get involved with food recovery in the District by joining the DC Food Recovery Working Group. The DC Food Recovery Working Group hosts quarterly meetings and an annual DMV Food Recovery Week. Watch recordings of past presentations and connect with local organizations on their website.  

Sustainable DC 

  • Learn how donation and reuse fits into the District’s larger sustainability goals.  

Food Source Reduction Tips 

Source reduction is the priority of the food recovery hierarchy, since it reduces the volume of surplus food generated at its source. This ranges from approaches at home and in food businesses to make the most of food. 

At Home: 

  • Meal plan before purchasing groceries to make sure you’re buying only what you need.
  • Buying fresh and local wherever possible means produce will last longer in your fridge since it spent less time in transit to get to you! Join the work to increase fresh food access in the District: check out
  • Get creative with your recipes to use perishable food first and to re-energize leftovers.
  • Check your food by smell and taste more than dates: many date labels are Sell By dates, which don’t reflect the time a product is designed to be in your home. A Best By date is generally a recommendation for peak taste but isn’t a reflection on food safety. Federal law only requires infant formula to have true Consume By dates.
  • For tips on whether "questionable-looking" food is still good to eat, check out The site also includes recipes for using up commonly wasted foods.
  • Check out for recipes, a guest-imator to make the right amount of food for your guests, and lots of other tips on organizing your fridge and home!

In Food Businesses: 

  • Check out for dozens of great ways to reduce food waste in your restaurant, from menu planning to storage tips.
  • Check out RescueDish for creative ways DC businesses are making the most of food by creatively using such as broccoli stems for broc tots or making carrot top pesto.
  • Department of Small and Local Business Development's Food Waste Innovation Grants provide funding to businesses to cut their food waste through improvements in storage, processing, donation, and more. 

Single Use Plastic Reduction


You can reduce your plastic waste in your everyday life by following a few quick tips.

  • Do you forget your reusable grocery bag often? Give yourself a reminder to bring your bags by adding it to the top of your grocery list or keep one folded in your backpack for easy access.
  • Beat the summer heat with a reusable water bottle. They can hold more than twice the amount of water than a single-use plastic water bottle while keeping your drinks cool.
  • Say no to the straw! Keep a slim reusable straw in your bag or car ready to go.
  • Make your own zero-waste kit for on the go. Keep a fork, knife, spoon and cloth napkin in a pouch at your office or in your bag.

Policies in the District

The District has several laws and policies aimed at reducing some of the most common types of trash we see littering our neighborhoods and polluting our waterways, especially plastics. District laws and policies targeting trash include the Bag Law, the Foam Ban, and the Material Requirements for Food Service Ware, which include the ban on plastic straws and stirrers. More recently, the Zero Waste Act brought about the Utensils-by-Request law and the Ditch the Disposables grant program, both intended to continue reducing waste from single-use food service ware. DOEE is responsible for the outreach and enforcement of these policies.

DOEE in Action

In addition to enforcing the policies listed above, the Department of Energy and Environment has several programs aimed at education, community engagement, trash capture, and monitoring of trash. Learn more at Trash Free DC.

DOEE’s Donation and Reuse team is working on more guides and resources. Check back soon! Have an idea of a resource that would be helpful, email [email protected].