How Much Food Do We Waste?

Did you know that a significant amount of food in the US goes to waste? No matter what type of diet you are following, chances are you have had to throw away a lot of food in recent years.

 

So, exactly how much food do we waste each year? Here, we’ll look at some of the key statistics on food waste and how the laws are changing to try to combat the problem.

 

How Much Food Is Wasted?

 

When you realize just how much food we waste in America alone, it’s shocking. According to statistics, there are 80 billion lbs. of food thrown away each year. This is the equivalent to 1,000 Empire State Buildings.

 

America is the global leader when it comes to food waste. The total cost of the food we waste amounts to approximately $161 billion. Individually, it works out we are wasting around 219 pounds of food per year, or a total of 20% to 40% of the entire American food supply.

 

It isn’t just the amount of waste we produce that’s the problem. The trouble is the majority of the waste ends up in landfill. In fact, food is the largest component which currently makes up US landfill sites.  

 

So, you can see from these figures that food waste is a huge problem in America. Interestingly, it is also known that those who follow healthy diets tend to waste more food than those who don’t.

 

Those with Healthier Diets Are Found to Be More Wasteful

 

There have actually been studies carried out which have revealed healthier diets result in more food waste. When you consider that healthy diets mostly consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, it isn’t hard to see why they might produce more waste.

 

Fresh fruits and vegetables have a very short shelf life. This means they spoil pretty quickly. Fresh produce makes up for around 39% of food waste, followed closely by dairy products and meat dishes.

 

Changes in the Law

 

In order to combat food waste, changes are being made in the laws around America. There have already been new laws passed in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Rhode Island, preventing food waste ending up in landfill.

 

Food waste task forces have also been put together in other states such as Washington and Tennessee. They are tasked with reducing food waste and educating the public.

 

An organics separation rule has been introduced by the New York City Department of Sanitation. This requires food-related businesses to separate their organic food waste in an effort to prevent it going to landfill.

 

As you can clearly see above, food waste is a huge problem in America. It is a big problem around the world too. It is estimated that globally, the amount of food wasted could feed two billion people. This is a shocking figure when you consider how many people don’t have access to food right now.

 

While it is a major problem at the moment, things are starting to change. Laws are changing and the public is getting more education on the effects of food waste on the planet. So, if you’re looking to do your part for the environment, reducing your food waste is a great place to start.

Categories: Food Waste