Americans Waste Historic Amount of Food While One In Six Lacks Food Security
Jeff Gangemi Sep 05, 2012 News 0 comments
A new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council puts an oft-ignored American problem into stark perspective. The average American wastes 10 times as much food as the average Thai person and 50% more than their parents or grandparents did 40 years ago, according to the study.
The impacts of wasting food go beyond just the piles of uneaten carrots, the leftover turkey, and the stale chips in our garbage pails. It accounts for a waste of roughly $195 billion, but also “25% of all freshwater and huge amounts of unnecessary chemicals, energy, and land.”
The study breaks down food waste by link in the supply chain and challenges different segments of industry to develop innovative solutions to counter this mounting problem. Even relatively small improvements could make significant impacts for combating hunger, climate change, and pollution.
Here is a graphic that shows how and where a large portion of food gets wasted:
“Food is simply too good to waste. Even the most sustainably farmed food does us no good if the food is never eaten. Getting food to our tables eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the United States.
Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. That is more than 20 pounds of food per person every month. Not only does this mean that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also 25 percent of all freshwater and huge amounts of unnecessary chemicals, energy, and land.
Moreover, almost all of that uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills where it accounts for almost 25 percent of U.S. methane emissions.
Nutrition is also lost in the mix—food saved by reducing losses by just 15 percent could feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lacks a secure supply of food to their tables…”
Images courtesy of NRDC
Special thanks to the folks at The Atlantic for bringing this study to our attention!