Multipage Ranks the Food Waste Worldwide

Multipage Ranks the Food Waste Worldwide

People are throwing away more than one million tonnes of food waste daily in the United States.

A new study finds that more than one million people worldwide throw away more than one million tonnes of food waste daily in the U.S. 

A new study, published in the journal Science, finds that more than 80 percent of global food waste goes to livestock.

The researchers focused on 2.2 billion people in the United States, as well as Europe, and they found a disproportionate amount of food waste. They were looking for two potential pathways:

First, people could be encouraged to pick up the big food. Second, the more you make meal choices, the more you do it, but that's not the only way you do it. In particular, food waste could be collected, in turn turned into compost to be used for food.

Food waste represents nearly all greenhouse gas emissions and represents 90 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It includes an estimated 9.6 million metric tons of food waste annually, which is equivalent to that of five billion trees.

The results were published in the journal Science.

Study lead author David Young is said to be an expert in nutrition. "Now that we know that there is a strong link between meat and food waste, people are more motivated to eat healthier, sustainable diets and live happier."

Young described a study in 2018 that found an average of 7.6% of U.S. households wasted 30% of their daily calories and 17.1% of the total energy of households at the time. 

The study showed that the average number of people throwing away so much food waste today increased by 50-70%. For example, according to a U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 36,000 households would lose 1.8% of their daily calories (about 17% of the total U.S. households) by 2030. That may be even higher than a decade ago when the average amount of wasted foods is 8.5% of its total energy consumed. 

Furthermore, the study found that most families are either throwing away more than one million tonnes of food waste per year by 2030 or more than one million tonnes by 2030. 

The study authors argue that since most food waste is consumed by people, there is a powerful effect on the country's food supply.

"When citizens use food at home, that has a huge effect," the authors wrote. "Eligible diets, especially vegan diets, are another powerful means of reducing anthropogenic waste."

The Drawdown of Food Waste

The researchers were surprised to learn that Americans have more than two million tonnes of food waste daily. They found that more than half of those losses come from households tossing away less than five percent of their remaining food waste. 

"The average number of meals wasted in the U.S. have more than doubled since 1970—up from 23.9% per decade ago—but this is likely because more households are choosing to eat healthier than ever, which reduces the amount of wasted food collected at the table or on a weekly basis."

What Can Be Done? 

In order to prevent future food waste, the United States will need to make food waste reforms and the federal government's efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

If all households stopped throwing away more than a million tonnes of food waste daily, the world's largest waste repository would be out of reach of many people. The scientists hope the impact of climate change will have lasting ripple effects on both the food and humans.

"The results of our findings are important in making better decisions about food supply and waste management,” study author Lauren Lutzik told Myecoblog. 

A U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report called the Future of Food in America has also highlighted a number of other challenges to reducing food waste, including an ever-changing lack of funding for food waste reduction efforts and new programs aimed at improving food access.

View Article Sources

"Sustainability: Reduces Waste Through Greenhouse Options." The Future of Food in America.

"United States Food and Agriculture Report." The Future of Food in America.


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