By Dr. Mercola
It’s estimated that 50 million Americans do not have access to enough food,1 yet 40 percent of food in the US goes uneaten. That’s the equivalent of 20 pounds of food per person each month.2
Every year, food worth the equivalent of $165 billion is wasted, much of which ends up in landfills and rots… adding to methane emissions. If food losses were reduced by even 15 percent, it could feed another 25 million Americans,3 slashing hunger rates by half.
On a global scale, as you might suspect, the numbers are even more striking… and the implications stretch far beyond hunger. An estimated 1.3 billion foods worth close to $1 trillion retail is wasted. As National Geographic put it:4
“Aside from the social, economic, and moral implications of that waste—in a world where an estimated 805 million people go to bed hungry each night—the environmental cost of producing all that food, for nothing, is staggering.
…The water wastage alone would be the equivalent of the entire annual flow of the Volga—Europe’s largest river—according to a UN report.
The energy that goes into the production, harvesting, transporting, and packaging of that wasted food, meanwhile, generates more than 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.
If food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. and China.”
Food Waste Occurs at Every Levels of the Food Supply Chain
There is potential for food loss and waste at virtually every step of the food system. From vegetables left in farm fields to rot because they are discolored to produce lost due to spills or spoilage during processing and distribution, the amount of food lost or wasted could easily feed the world’s hungry.
About two-thirds of waste occurs