10 Mind-Blowing Facts about Food Waste in America

You won't believe how much food is wasted every year
household waste

10 Mind-Blowing Facts about Food Waste in America

Food Waste

iStockPhoto/ Thinkstock

The folks at Sealed Air recently released the results of their 2014 Food Waste Survey, and the numbers are stunning. While the global demand for food has increased exponentially as the population of developing countries skyrockets, more than a third of all the food produced in the U.S. is simply thrown in the garbage. And while Americans are increasingly aware of the issue of food waste, a shocking percentage of them refuse to admit that they’re a part of the problem. 

What We Throw Away

Food Waste

Flickr/Sputnik 57

Each year Americans throw away more than 50 million tons of food. That’s more than 20 percent of all municipal garbage, and the largest contributor to landfills

Fresh Water Waste

Water waste

Flickr/Joe Shlabotnik

We waste more than 25 percent of our fresh, potable water. Turn the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth!

What it Costs Us

Household Waste

Flickr/Alan Stanton

Waste costs the average household $2,000 per year. 

Doubly Bad

pantry

Flickr/Pieter Pieterse

The amount of food wasted per person has doubled in the last 40 years.

How Much Does it Cost?

food waste

Flickr/m01229

$160 billion of food is wasted in the US every year.

A Whole Lot of Burritos

food waste

Flickr/Dietmar Temps

160 trillion calories are wasted every year.

Going Hungry for No Reason

three meals

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

The food wasted in America each year could provide 3 meals a day for 172 million people, and lift 10 times that amount out of hunger

No Cause for Concern?

grocery shopping

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Only 34 percent of grocery shoppers are concerned about food waste in their own household, but nearly 50 percent admit that consumers are a part of the problem. 

Acknowledge the Problem

household waste

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30 percent acknowledge that their household wastes more than it should. The actual percentage of those that waste food is much higher than that; 78 percent say that they’ve thrown away food in the past 6 months. 

Packaging Isn’t Waste

packaging

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Packaging contributes to food preservation, not waste. Nearly 90 percent of shoppers think packaging material is more harmful to the environment than discarded food, but in reality shrink-wrapping a cucumber can expand its shelf life by nearly two weeks, vastly increasing its chances of not being wasted.