Food prices around the world are predicted to rise dramatically as a result of climate change, a huge challenge for the most impoverished people in the world who already spend up to 75 percent of their income on food. Meanwhile in the U.S., we waste a shockingly high amount of food as Dana Gunders, a scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), details on Grist and on the NRDC’s site.
1. 40 percent of the food in the U.S. goes uneaten.
That means that, per person, more than 20 pounds of food produced in the U.S. is thrown out, a total equivalent to $165 billion. Households with children probably waste even more. NRDC notes that a study of British households found that those with children throw out 41 percent more food waste.
2. 10 percent of the U.S.’s total energy budget, 50 percent of U.S. land and a whopping 80 percent of the U.S. water supply are used for food production.
By throwing out so much food, we’re also throwing away valuable natural resources. Even more, wasted food just ends up in landfill which releases almost 25 percent of US methane emissions, according to the EPA.
3. Only 10 percent of surplus edible food in the U.S. is recovered.
For all the food the U.S. produces, one out of six people in this country still do not have a secure supply of food on their tables.
Yes, something is really wrong in our system of producing food and actually getting it to people to eat.
4. The average American wastes 10 times as much food as a person in Southeast Asia.
As Gunders emphasizes, this was not the case not too long ago, in the 1970s. While it is, well, depressing to think about how wasteful the U.S. has become — and at a time when campaigns to decrease and eliminate plastic bag use, to recycle and other earth-friendly measures have seen success — it is possible to change our wasteful ways.
5. Food waste has fallen by 13 percent in the UK in the past five years thanks to a public-awareness campaign.
The UK’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign shows that it is possible to cut down on food waste if we change our habits.
Photo by swanksalot
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