Food Bank Recycling Partnership


Food Bank Recycling Case Study

Innovative Waste Recycling (IWR) is a waste and byproducts management company that provides sustainable solutions for various industries. IWR specializes in assisting public food banks in finding beneficial solutions for excess and aged food through a partnership with one of the largest food bank groups in the Midwest, which is also affiliated with a national food bank network.

Client Background

The food bank group handles significant food donations, aiming to provide meals directly to those in need while supplying a network of smaller food banks. However, they often have a surplus of food that cannot be used if it has expired or has been received in a compromised state and must be destroyed.

Company Profile

Number of Employees


People Served


Number of Locations


Materials Diverted from Landfills

IWR helped divert nearly 6,000 tons of food bank inedible material from landfills.

Over 371 established food banks in the U.S.

Solving the Problem

Initial Contact and Problem Identification

The partnership between IWR and the food bank group began through networking efforts. A key contact at IWR had connections with the food bank group and proposed a collaboration.

Reducing Food Waste

IWR's primary objective is to ensure that donated food feeds those in need. Secondly, it does not go to waste or end up in landfills. When the food bank group has excess food that cannot be utilized for meals, they turn to IWR. IWR’s team identifies alternative uses for the food, ensuring it is used for good.

Providing Solutions

When bulk truckloads of food donations are rejected (often due to invasive pests or age), the food bank group informs the donors, directing them to IWR – who can help divert the product to a landfill-free beneficial use. This approach ensures responsible handling and redirection of the food to appropriate channels – avoiding disposal via landfill.

After the Implementation

Aligning with Corporate Values

IWR understands the importance of corporate values and sustainability. They work closely with the food bank group to address higher-level concerns and goals, such as sustainability, throughout their donation and distribution process. IWR provides detailed information and metrics to help their client track progress and measure KPIs.

Building Trust for Future Collaboration

To reinforce trust, IWR provided a facility tour to foodbank management, showcasing their handling of excess food. This visit allowed the client to witness firsthand the sustainable processes involved, solidifying the partnership and ensuring the proper handling of extra food.


IWR's Impact

The collaboration between IWR and the food bank group emphasizes the importance of innovative solutions to reduce food waste and increase landfill avoidance. By partnering with a large food bank group, IWR ensures that excess food is utilized positively instead of ending up in landfills. Networking, corporate alignment, and responsible waste management practices successfully address the challenge of inedible food in food banks.

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