Compost food items

Sporting events, concerts, or any other large gatherings of people that turn stadiums and parks into temporary cities have a lot of hungry mouths to feed and waste that needs proper disposal.

Many event coordinators have this down to a science, poised and ready with concession stands as well as “Green Crews” to make sure certain materials end up in the right place. One issue with the large events is the excess of perfectly edible food that often ends up in the trash.

All this wasted food is ridiculous considering the amount of people who go hungry every day. Luckily, one organization has been going above and beyond by not wasting food, keeping waste bins free of prepared meals and bringing it to the plates and bowls of hungry individuals.

Rock and Wrap It Up! (RWU), an award-winning, anti-poverty think-tank helps feed millions of people with perfectly edible food that would otherwise end up in landfills. Founded 24 years ago by Syd Mandelbaum, RWU has grown into a massive organization with 5,000 members in 500 cities all over the world.

Here’s a breakdown of the different programs and industries that RWU is helping to green by diverting uneaten, prepared food from landfills and into the mouth of the less fortunate.


Music Concert Fans

Thanks to RWU, there are over 160 bands that have included a stipulation in their tour contract that requires all prepared food not served during concerts to be picked up and distributed to local soup kitchens.



Over 75 franchises in the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL and MSL have partnered with the organization creating Sports Wrap! By working with concessions stands, prepared food not sold at home games is donated to the hungry. When sustainability and sports team up, everybody wins!



With the Rock and Wrap it Up! School and Snack Wrap! Programs give students and school administration tools to help recover food and other resources in their institutions. Since 1997, over 200 schools located all over the United States have joined the program. RWU has created lesson plans and the Whole Earth Calculator to help give context to the amount of meals created by diverting food waste from landfills.

Television and Film.


The sets of film and television productions also produce large quantities of food waste but through the It’s a Wrap! Program, seventy-five productions have greened their operations by partnering with local agencies ensuring the recovery of food.



The Hospitality Industry has been making strides in lowering the environmental impact of their operations. The RWU have consulted with the Marriot, Grand Hyatt and Langham chain of hotels, partnering them with local agencies allowing the donation of unused toiletry items as well as toilet paper and tissue boxes instead of sending them to the dump.



With five hospitals currently participating and dozens more expected to sign up by the end of the year, the Hospital Wrap! Program assists hospitals in reducing food waste and CO2 emissions.  A case study conducted at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Massachusetts, between July and October 2013, showed that Hospital Wrap! recovered 2,700 pounds of food waste creating over 2,000 meals and preventing 2,000 pounds of emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Rock and Wrap it Up have even taken their cause all the way to the White House, writing the Federal Food Donation Act of 2008. The law encourages federal buildings to donate food from their operations including restaurants, cafeterias, and rental services to feed the nation’s hungry.


All that Rock and Wrap it Up! has done is a beautiful example of how two separate issues can come together to create a sustainable solution.