Facts

 

  • Approximately 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes to waste. Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — gets lost or wasted. Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons). Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Over 97% of food waste generated ends up in the landfill. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • 33 million tons of food makes its way to landfills each year. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Consumer and foodservice food waste is the largest source of food loss in the marketing chain. Economic Research Services
  • Food waste that goes to the landfill breaks down anaerobically and produces methane; methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • In 2008, the EPA estimated that food waste cost roughly $1.3 billion to dispose of in landfills. (Journal of Consumer Affairs)
  • In 2010, 48.8 million Americans lived in food-insecure households. Economic Research Service
  • Each year an average 7% of U.S.-planted acreage was not harvested between 1994-96. USDA Economic Research Service
  • According to published studies, a typical food product is handled an average of 33 times before it is ever touched by a consumer in the supermarket. USDA Economic Research Service
  • Less than 3% of food waste was recovered and recycled [composted] in 2010. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • The aggregate food supply in 2000 provided 3,800 calories per person per day...of that 3,800, an estimate 1,100 calories were lost to spoilage, plate waste, cooking, and other losses, putting dietary intake of calories in 2000 at 2,700 calories per person per day. USDA Economic Research Service
  • Food loss costs a family of four at least $589.76 annually. University of Arizona
  • Nearly 34 million tons of food waste is generated in the US each year (13.9% of the municipal solid waste stream). (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • “...US per capita food waste has progressively increased by ~50% since 1974 reaching more than 1400 calories per person per day or 150 trillion calories per year.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • In 2003, wasted food accounted for ~300 million barrels of oil per year representing ~4% of the total US oil consumption that year. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • Municipal solid food waste accounts for ~30% of the total wasted food energy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • Food waste has progressively increased from about 30% of the available food supply in 1974 to almost 40% in recent years. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act limits the liability of food donors to instances of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • 33.79 million tons of food were wasted in the U.S. in 2010 - enough to fill the Empire State Building 91 times. FaceTheFactsUSA.org (George Washington University)
  • Every ton of food wasted results in 3.8 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
  • America increased food waste in 2010 by 16%. FaceTheFactsUSA.org (George Washington University)
  • A single restaurant in the U.S. can produce approximately 25,000 to 75,000 pounds of food waste in a year, according to the Green Restaurant Association.
  • Food waste comprises about half of a restaurant’s waste stream. Green Restaurant Association
  • In processing New York City’s waste alone, garbage trucks make 250,000 trips throughout the city and the same number of long hauls out of state…the average garbage truck, with its frequent stops and idling, gets about 3 miles per gallon. American Wasteland
  • “A more recent estimate by Kevin Hall, a researcher at the National Institute of Health, found that a quarter of the food we squander would provide three meals per day for 43 million people. What’s more, it would yield enough to lift 430 million Americans, if that many existed, out of hunger.” American Wasteland

 

Facts from the Natural Resources Defense Council