New Study on Food Waste

New food waste study shows 40 percent of food goes uneaten in the U.S.

| March/April 2013

  • composting food in a bin
    A large percentage of fresh produce is wasted in the U.S. each month.
    Photo By Fotolia/Patryssia

  • composting food in a bin

According to a new food waste study from the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten — more than 20 pounds per person each month. This means Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year and 25 percent of all freshwater. The rotting food in landfills accounts for almost 25 percent of U.S. methane emissions.

At a closer look, produce is the most wasted of all U.S. food products at 52 percent. This accounts for consumer waste as well as food that never leaves the farm. Produce losses are driven by everything from overplanting, “imperfect produce,” market fluctuations, labor shortages and spoilage.

In terms of household consumption, rather than contributing to the filling of landfills with fruits and vegetables, now might be as good a time as any to add a backyard chicken flock that acts as a giant composter while giving you wonderful fertilizer in return.

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