Food Waste Log: Track Your Restaurant Food Waste with Our Easy-to-Use Food Waste Log!

By David Rigbye May 23, 2023

Restaurants are a major contributor to food waste, with estimates suggesting that up to 40% of the food produced in restaurants ends up in the bin. This not only has significant economic implications for businesses but also has a profound impact on the environment. 

When food waste is sent to landfill, it decomposes and produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is significantly more potent than carbon dioxide. Moreover, the resources used to produce and transport wasted food are also wasted, contributing to unnecessary environmental degradation. 

Therefore, it is crucial for restaurants to take action to reduce their food waste and adopt sustainable practices. One way to achieve this is by implementing a food waste log.

What is a food waste log?

A food waste log is a record-keeping tool used to track the amount of waste generated by an individual or organization over a period of time. It typically includes information such as the type of food waste, the quantity, and the reason for the waste. 

By keeping a log, individuals and organizations can gain insights into their food waste habits and identify areas for improvement. This information can then be used to develop and implement strategies to reduce waste and save money. A food waste log can also help raise awareness of the issue of waste and encourage others to take action to reduce it.

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What are the benefits of a food waste log?

There are several benefits to using a log to track and manage food waste. Here are some of them:

Identifying patterns and trends

A log can help you identify patterns and trends in the type and amount of food being wasted. This information can be used to adjust purchasing and preparation practices to reduce waste.

Setting goals and measuring progress

By keeping a record of your food waste, you can set specific goals for reducing waste and track your progress over time.

Saving money

Reducing food waste can lead to significant cost savings for both households and businesses. By tracking waste, you can identify areas where you can cut costs and make more efficient use of resources.

Improving sustainability

Food waste has significant environmental consequences, including contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and wasting resources like water and energy. By reducing food waste, you can help improve the sustainability of your household or business.

Encouraging better habits

Tracking food waste can help raise awareness about the issue and encourage individuals and organizations to adopt better habits and practices around food consumption and waste reduction.

How do you use a food waste log?

Here are step-by-step instructions for setting up and using a log:

Step #1 – Define your categories

Determine the categories you want to track, such as fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, dairy, grains, and leftovers.

Step #2 – Set up your log

Create a table with columns for date, category, quantity, reason for waste, and notes.

Step #3 – Collect data

Start collecting data on the amount and type of food waste generated in your home or restaurant. Record this information in your log.

Step #4 – Analyse data

Analyse the data collected in your log. Look for patterns and identify areas where you can reduce waste.

Step #5 – Implement changes

Based on your analysis, implement changes to reduce food waste. This could include adjusting purchasing habits, improving storage and handling practices, or creating new recipes using leftovers.

Step #6 – Monitor progress

Continuously track and monitor your food waste to see if your efforts are making an impact. Adjust your strategies as needed to achieve your waste reduction goals.

What does a food waste log look like? 

Typically, a food waste log needs the following information:

  • The day and the manager
  • The time that waste was dumped
  • The type of waste
  • The reason for the waste (i.e. leftovers, expiry, etc.)
  • The method of disposal
  • The quantity of waste

Date: _______ Manager: _______

TimeType of Food WasteReason for Food WasteMethod of DisposalQuantity

How can I ensure my food waste is measured and recorded accurately?

Here are some tips for accurately measuring and recording food waste in a log:

Weigh or measure the food waste

Use a kitchen scale or measuring cups to accurately measure the amount of food waste you generate. This will help you track your progress over time and identify areas where you can make improvements.

Record the type of food waste

Note the type of food waste you are generating, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, spoiled dairy products, or leftovers. This will help you identify patterns and areas where you can reduce waste.

Record the reason for the waste

Did the food spoil before you could use it? Was it overcooked or burned? By recording the reason for the waste, you can identify areas where you can improve your cooking or purchasing practices.

Record the date and time

Make sure to record the date and time of the food waste. This will help you identify patterns over time and make adjustments as needed.

Involve your staff

If you are using a food waste log in a restaurant or other food service setting, make sure to involve your staff in the process. Train them on how to accurately measure and record waste, and encourage them to provide feedback and suggestions for reducing waste.

Remember, the more accurate and detailed your log is, the better equipped you will be to identify areas for improvement and make positive changes.

How do I analyse the data in my food waste log?

Categorise the food waste

Divide the food waste into categories such as prep waste, spoilage, overproduction, and customer leftovers. This can help you identify where the waste is coming from and prioritise your efforts.

Track the volume and frequency of waste

Record the volume and frequency of waste for each category. This can help you identify patterns and pinpoint areas where you can make changes.

Look for trends

Analyse the data to identify trends and patterns in your food waste. This can help you understand the root causes of waste and make more informed decisions about how to reduce it.

Identify opportunities for waste reduction

Once you have analysed your food waste data, look for opportunities to reduce waste. For example, if you are constantly throwing away a lot of prepped vegetables, you may need to adjust your ordering or prep practices.

How can I reduce food waste once I’ve analysed my log?

Meal planning

Plan your menu and portions carefully to avoid overproduction and spoilage. Consider using ingredients that can be repurposed in multiple dishes.

Portion control

Train your staff to portion dishes accurately to avoid waste. Consider offering smaller portion sizes or encourage customers to take home leftovers.

Food storage tips

Properly store your food to extend its shelf life. Label and date all food items to ensure that they are used in a timely manner. Consider donating excess food to local food banks or charities.


Consider composting food waste to divert it from landfills and turn it into nutrient-rich soil. Many cities offer composting programs, or you can start your own compost bin on-site.
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