- Posted by Admin
- On May 15, 2017
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- EPA, FAO, food waste, Food Waste Goal, Global, USDA
Even though researchers agree that there is no clear method to calculate food loss and waste, globally operating organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), estimate that about one third of food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted costing $1 trillion every year. Some other organizations, such as the UK’s Institute of Mechanical Engineers, claim that as much as half of all produced food may be lost or wasted in the food production and consumption system.
Food waste remains an environmental and economic issue even though roughly 795 million people worldwide are facing hunger. Resources such as land, water, labor, energy and other inputs used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of discarded food could be beneficial to society and help people in need. Furthermore, food waste itself fills up municipal landfills, contributing to landfills being one of the largest sources of methane.
How Much Food is Wasted?
- There are two different methods in place to describe the amount of food loss and waste. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes the amount of food that is going into municipal solid waste, whereas The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) referrers to it as the amount of food loss and waste from the food supply at the retail and consumer levels.
- According to USDA’s calculation 31% of the food supply, 133billion lbs., almost $162 billion, were squandered in 2010.
- Industrialized countries waste almost as much food as the entire food production of sub-Saharan Africa: 222million vs. 230million tons.
- In the U.S. approximately 30-40% of food is wasted. Meaning that, an average of more than 20lbs of food per person per month is thrown away, costing about $1,600 per year.
- Comparing per capita waste by consumer shows that in Europe and North America range between 95kg to 115kg a year of food that is thrown away, whereas in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia, food waste only reaches approximately 6kg to 11kg.
In 2015 the U.S. government announced its National Food Loss and Waste Goal, aiming for a 50% reduction in waste by 2030, acknowledging the issue’s importance. USDA and EPA currently are working on several initiatives to improve the overall food security and sustainable use of natural resources.
Look forward to next Monday for a continuation of our overview on food waste.