10 Things You Didn't Know About Food Waste
- Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa.
- 1.4 billion hectares of land—28% of the world’s agricultural area—is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted.
- Knowing that their contracts with supermarkets require near-perfect-looking fruit, farmers often overproduce in order to meet expectations, wasting what they don’t sell.
- Bread is one of the most commonly wasted foods. Of the bread that makes it to U.S. markets each year, 68% is consumed, while 20% is wasted in the kitchen, and the remaining 12% is wasted in the store.
- Roughly 50% of all produce in the United States is thrown away—some 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually.
- Food production in the United States uses 10% of the total energy budget, 50% of all land and 80% of all fresh water consumed. Consider how much energy, land, and water we are using on foods being wasted.
- The U.S. EPA says about 25% of our waste is organic material that can be composted. In fact, Americans throw away an average of 1.3 pounds of food scraps daily—about 13% of our solid waste.
- Food waste is responsible for around 7–10% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally.
- Almost 1 billion people are hungry worldwide. On the other hand, around 1.5 billion people in the whole world are overweight and 400 million are obese.
- Maine has a goal of reaching a 50% recycling rate by 2021 and food waste can account for more than a quarter of our waste. You can help!