How much food is wasted in the US annually?

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In America alone, around 11 million children currently suffer from food shortages. Despite this, food waste in America remains a huge issue.

Here is an overview of information regarding food waste in the US annually:The US produces more food waste annually than any other other country

– It is estimated that approximately 40 million tons of food waste arises in the US annually

– This equates to around 200 pounds of waste, per person, each year

– It is estimated that this waste amounts to a ‘store value’ of more than $150 billion dollars (or $1,500 per family each year)

– According to the EPA, in 2010, food loss in the US accounted for 31% of the national food supply, (133 billion pounds)

Research conducted by the USDA revealed that wasted food in the US makes up for around 30% of the food supply

What are the main causes of food waste in the US each day?

Above outlined above, “approximately 40 million tons of food waste arises in the US annually”, which is around 150,000 tons of food each day (or one pound per person), according to the Guardian.

Why is so much food wasted in America?

Some of the main reasons for food waste in the US include:

  • Expired/spoiled food i.e. food that no longer qualifies as fresh enough to be sold and wasted, or simply food that becomes damaged or spoiled and is no longer deemed as edible
  • Damaged or lost during transport i.e. food may become exposed to maggots or insects if transported long distances. In warmer climates food may also become softer and therefore spoiled
  • Simply buying more food than one can eat is an example of food waste, since many people still do not compost or segregate food waste and general waste, meaning that the food ends up being wasted

Identifying the root causes of food waste in America is complex and involves analysing various economic and socioeconomic factors, but ultimately food waste comes down to human choices and behaviors. To be even more granular, factors such as education, cultural habits and environmental empathy all influence the amounts of wasted food.

A lack of composting, recycling, reusing and reducing combined with the misinterpretation of food labels (i.e. not correctly understanding “use by”, “sell by”, “expires by”, “best before”).

Does the U.S. have a plan or strategy in order to reduce food waste in the future?

According to The EPA, “The federal government is seeking to work with communities, organisations and businesses along with our partners in state, tribal and local government to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent over the next 15 years (by 2030).”

But is this achievable?

The plan of action involves working closely with food industry leaders in an effort to enhance the sustainable management of food. The EPA also created a Call to Action by website page, which helps to analyse opportunities to reduce food waste in the US.

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