25 Million Tons of Food Tossed by Americans Every Year

Americans discard more than 25 percent of all food produced domestically. That’s about 25.9 million tons of food.

Four thousand miles away, almost eight million residents of Niger — more than half the country’s population — are facing starvation because of climate conditions that have damaged food crops.

What you eat for lunch and what you pack in your child’s school lunch matters more than you might realize.

Climate change is an urgent global problem with social, economic, and environmental consequences.

Care2’s GinaMarie Cheeseman recently wrote that a poll of residents of Florida, Maine, and Massachusetts found that “the majority believe global warming is real and caused by humans,” and “the warming is mostly or partly caused by human activity.”

A tremendous amount of energy goes into the production of the food we consume and so casually discard. An article in New Scientist says that more energy is wasted in the food discarded by people in the U.S. each year than is extracted annually from the oil and gas reserves off the nation’s coastlines.

Most of the packaging around peanut butter, cereal, bread, and most of the other food products we buy comes from cardboard sourced from trees and plastics derived from fossil fuels. If you follow the trail from harvesting of ingredients to shipping, modifying, distribution, and to your kitchen, the energy required to pack your child’s school lunch is staggering and wasteful.

Climate Counts – Consumer Power
The nonprofit organization Climate Counts is a collaborative effort to bring consumers and companies together in the fight against global climate change. In order to promote awareness among consumers, Climate Counts scores companies on their climate impact.

By learning what companies are doing about climate change, we can make informed choices about where we spend our money. The food product companies scored by Climate Counts pulled in over $253.7 billion dollars last year. That’s a lot of money and we all know that nothing speaks louder than the bottom line.

Scores are based on four major elements — reviewing emissions, reducing emissions, public policy positions, and transparency — and give you the information you need to make purchasing decisions.

How You Can Help
The choices you make every day matter. Make climate-conscious consumer decisions that impact not only your health, but the amount energy you use and the waste you generate.

  • Make portion control a part of your routine to cut down on waste.
  • Make healthy choices for your body’s sake; patronize local organic food producers to support your community.
  • Check out company scores on Climate Counts — find out which ones are serious about climate control and which are not.
  • Let your voice be heard at the cash register and by reaching out directly — let companies know why you are purchasing from their competitors. Urge them on a path toward sustainability. When money talks, corporations listen.

Related Reading on Care2

From The Petition Site

For more information, visit ClimateCounts.org or on Facebook.com/pages/Climate-Counts

Photo credit: This image is in the public domain - NCI Visuals Online


Caroline L.
Caroline L7 years ago

This isn't about whether the food you toss in the trash ends up on a plate in China or if China would feed us if the tables were turned... this is about MONEY. When you toss food away, you throw out your money. Now you have to buy more. Also, you give the manufacturer a reason to make more, to create more food and put it on a shelf because you bought and threw out the food that was on that shelf. Do you get that? Money morons! When you toss food out just because you don't like it or don't want it, you're in the mood for chocolate and not for rice, then you create inflation. You buy more, they make more, they charge more for it because the demand appears to have gone up, and round and round. Eat everything on your plate and put more dollars in your pocket. It's as simple as that. I'm afraid you are all about to get this lesson first hand if you don't learn it now.

Klaus P.
Klaus Peters7 years ago

Sure, one day you will need food scraps from China, will they give it to you: no way. You are only a business target at the moment.Once you handed everyting to China, you are done. The sleeping tiger takes all.

Jason H.
Jason H.7 years ago

My sister and I do not see eye to eye on this at all. I'll just cut the moldy part off and use the good part; whereas she will throw something away as soon as the sell-by date is past. I find it very discouraging how many people think the sell-by date is an expiration date; or a "best-before" date, same thing. That said, I do think the "clean-your-plate" mentality is partially to blame for obesity. Far better to put less on the plate in the first place, use a smaller plate if necessary. And control your buying so that you only have an amount you can finish before it goes bad.

p.s. -- those who know bananas know that when the brown spots appear on the peel, the banana has just ripened. No brown = not ripe yet. Please get it right.

jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

So we buy too much don't eat it and toss it away. Smart move. Schools and restaurants rather than donate the left over food dump it-- Brilliant. How many people could have been fed by this food that we have discarded? Countless.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran7 years ago

at my house my brother and i try to waste as little food as possible. if there's leftovers, we freeze it and one day when we're high and dry we defrost and chow down.

when my mutt was alive, i used to give him the tail ends of the banana or fruit that had gone brown because i felt too gooey to eat brown fruit. now i leave the brown fruit to my brother who has no qualms with it.

Roxana J.
Roxana J7 years ago

Buy smart, cook smart... eat smart... there is not need to waste food..... feels good when you dont have to put half of your fridge on the trash.

Milan L.
Milan L7 years ago

I am glad to see more and more of the recent comments acknowledging the fact that the problem is global and way beyond the kind of solutions which depend on individual "donations". Assuming that all of the authors are younger than myself (86yo) I would recommend to all of them that they should acquaint themselves with the Remedy offered by Henry George. It may not be too late after all. All of the governments around the world are in the service of the wrong kind of vested interests, bur some new global grassroots Movement just may do it - in the nick of time.

Give it a go ! Do not go down without a fight !

Bora S.
Bora Salama7 years ago

Individually we could follow the advice of HQ 7:31 "O Children of Adam! .... do eat and drink (for God has made eating a pleasure) But waste not by excess, for God loveth not the wasters."

However, these things also need good management at national and global scales.

One of the duties of national governments is to make sure that there isn't too big an imbalance within the country that allows many to waste food while some in the country are going hungry.

Another duty is to make sure that the country isn't overconsuming or wasting while other countries are starving.

Kiruthika Gp
Kiruthika Gp7 years ago

Thanks. Pls donate

Cheyenne Ziermann

We need to just step up to the plate & make real efforts, as a world together, to stop global warming, pollution, excessive waste, & poverty.