This year, we at the food pantry want to encourage you to add one more resolution to your list for 2021 — reduce food waste! Below are some fast facts about food waste globally and nationally followed by a link to the FDA’s tips and tricks on reducing food waste.
Did you know…
- Globally, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted or lost in transport per year. That translates to one-third of the food produced in the world each year.
- Food waste accounts for 4.4 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions. To illustrate this point: if food waste were its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter – surpassed only by China and the United States.
- The breakdown of food loss globally is 40% fruits, vegetables, and roots/tubers; 35% fish; 30% cereals; 20% oils, seeds, meat, and dairy
- The global leader in food waste is the United States. Nationally, the EPA estimates that 40 million tons of food is wasted every year – that’s 80 billion pounds. To illustrate that degree of food waste: it is enough to fill nearly 1,000 Empire State Buildings.
- US food waste costs $161 billion annually.
- Food waste also means water waste. In the US, the EPA estimates that nearly 21% of freshwater use goes into growing food that will be wasted.
- Most US food waste is sent to landfills. In fact, food is the single largest component in landfills with 22% of all municipal solid waste being wasted food.
- More than 80 percent of Americans discard perfectly good, consumable food simply because they misunderstand expiration labels.
- Even if just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world.
Have these facts inspired you to investigate ways to reduce your food waste? If so, you can download and explore the resources below. Let’s make 2021 our most sustainability-conscious year yet!