Food waste includes uneaten portions of meals and trimmings from food preparation activities in kitchens, restaurants and cafeterias…
- Official surveys indicate that every year more than 350 billion pounds (160 billion kg) of edible food is available for human consumption in the United States. Of that total, nearly 100 billion pounds (45 billion kg) - including fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, and grain products - are lost to waste by retailers, restaurants, and consumers. In other terms, more than 1/4!
- By contrast, the amount of food required to meet the needs of the hungry is only 4 billion pounds (about 1.5 billion Kg). According to Food Not Bombs, every year more than 30 million people in the United States are going hungry on regular basis.
- Average household food waste has been pegged (1) at approximately 14% of food purchases, or about US$590 worth of food per year. That figure includes some products that are still edible but unopened. Reducing food waste by 1/2 could reduce adverse environmental impacts by 25% through reduced landfill use, soil depletion and applications of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
- The 2004 Soggy Lettuce Report from WRAP (2) showed that the average person throws away £ 424 of food (about € 616, US$809). Households spent each year up to £ 470 (about € 683, US$897) purely on food packaging - it makes up over 40% of the waste ending up in our bins. That’s 4.5 million tonnes per year, the vast majority of which ends up in landfill sites, and increasingly, incinerators.
- An earlier report (3) said that the £ 350 million worth (about € 508, US$668 million) of wholesome but ‘close to sell-by date’ food ending in landfills or incinerators each year is enough to feed 270,000 homeless people.
(1) By Timothy Jones: a research anthropologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who has been studying food loss and waste for more than a decade. He found that up to half of all US food either goes bad or is thrown away uneaten.
(2) The UK Waste & Resources Action Programme.
(3) Commissioned by the charity Crisis.