Learn About Wasted Food

The Facts:

American households presently throw away over a quarter of all the food they purchase each year - to the tune of $125 billion annually – while another $733 million is spent landfilling household food waste ([1]). Overall, food waste is the single largest and least recovered waste stream in the US.  Beyond economic losses, this also leads to negative impacts on our society and the environment. 

Why it Matters:

According to a recent NRDC report, we cannot afford to waste all the resources that food production requires. It costs 10% of the total U.S. energy budget and uses 50% of U.S. land. Currently 25% of all freshwater supplies go to produce food that ultimately gets wasted ([2]). From a lifecycle perspective, or from farm to fork to landfill,  food contributes to 14% of our total domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which negatively effects our climate.

At this time, 1 in 6 Americans lack a secure supply of food. Reducing food losses across the supply chain by 15%  could help feed more than 25 million Americans every year. Food truly is too good to waste!

What is being done?

Fortunately food waste is quickly becoming an issue of focus, both in the US and worldwide. 

Starting in 2011, the West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum worked collaboratively to develop the Food: Too Good to Waste implementation guide and toolkit to help households waste less food. By making small shifts in how consumers shop, prepare and store food, you can toss less, eat well, simplify your life, save money and keep the valuable resources used to produce and distribute food from going to waste.  The US EPA has since adapted Food: Too Good to Waste as part of the EPA's Sustainable Management of Food.

Learn More:

Please visit our Background Resources page for more information on organizations actively engaged in the work of reducing food waste.