These Countries Waste Enough Food to Feed the Planet (Slideshow)


Australia: 4.06 Million Metric Tons/ Year

Despite its small geographical and population size, Australia still manages to waste 1521 pounds of food per person every year, according to several studies. That's a reported 4.5 million metric tons — around $5.2 billion of good food down the drain every year! While all this may not seem like much in comparison to some of the bigger food wasters like the U.S., it is worthwhile to bear in mind that Australia is a lot smaller than these countries in livable landmass and population size, so comparatively the numbers are pretty high.

Denmark: 540,000 Metric Tons/ Year

The pragmatism of Danish environmental resource management does not extend to food. Their waste reportedly tops more than 1,455 pounds per person every year. The bulk of the wastage apparently comes from the catering sector and from households.

Finland: 5.07 Million Metric Tons/ Year

Studies show that Finland wastes, on average, around 1,014 million pounds of food every year, the bulk of the wastage actually coming from the restaurant and catering industry and huge buffets, which are the biggest culprit. Vegetables, dairy products, and prepared meals are among the most wasted food items.

France: 1 Million Metric Tons / Year

According to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, each person in France throws away nearly 29 pounds of food every year, the bulk of this coming from uneaten leftovers and expired produce and packaged goods. It's estimated that around 21 percent of all the food purchased in France is simply thrown away; while households are a big culprit, it would seem that supermarkets and food services are also to blame

Germany: 11 Million Metric Tons/ Year

German society is known for being practical and frugal, but when it comes to food wastage, German household, industry, catering, and retails waste a massive 1,191 pounds of food per person annually, according to a recent study from Stuttgart University. That's throwing away around 13 million metric tons of good food every year.

Italy: 20 Million Metric Tons/ Year

On average, around 321 pounds of food is wasted per person per day in Italy, which is much less than elsewhere in the world. It may seem strange that Italy's totally food wastage is so high, then, but it's mainly because the bulk of the waste comes from the farming sector, and not necessarily households; The estimated values of wasted food in Italy top €10 billion annually just from agriculture alone… this also means that the fruits and vegetables thrown away at the point of sale also involve the now-wasted consumption of more than 2.5 billion cubic feet of water used to grow them.

Netherlands: 9.4 Million Metric Tons/ Year

The bulk of food wastage in the Netherlands comes from households that throw away an incredibly large amount of spoiled (and even still fresh enough to eat) food regularly. Reports estimate that the Dutch waste around 1,344 pounds of food per person every year.

North America (USA and Canada): 35 Million Metric Tons/ Year

According to research groups, the U.S. wastes about 1,675 pounds of food per person every year. Thirty percent of all food in America, approximately $48.3 billion worth, is thrown away every year. And to make matter even worse, that’s also wasting water (another valuable and limited resource), as the water that went into growing that food can never be recovered. The U.S. is not alone in its North American food wastage — Canadians throw away an average of 1,410 pounds of good food per person every year— around $27 billion worth of food annually, 51 percent of which is wasted at home.

Norway: 3.35 Million Metric Tons/ Year

Norway, despite its small size and harsh climate (which makes growing food extremely difficult), is producing an incredibly large amount of food waste every year. It comes out to around 1,366 pounds of food waste per person every year. The Norwegian government, though, has recognized this as a big environmental problem and is taking steps to try to curb that number in future years.

Spain: 7.7 Million Metric Tons/ Year

Like in many other European countries, the bulk of Spain's food waste actually comes from agriculture, though households, too, throw away their fair share of perfectly good produce: around 359 pounds per person per year. Though the numbers in Spain aren't as high as, say, Germany, they are still very concerning because of the country's weak economy and the fact that around 21 percent of Spain's 47 million people live below the poverty line, making better food management systems and imperative for feeding its growing hungry population.  

United Kingdom: 18 Million Metric Tons/ Year

Studies show that despite the U.K.'s continued efforts to promote environmentally friendly practices, the average Brit still wastes around 1,234 pounds of food every year. Most of the wastage comes from the hospitality industry (so restaurants, pubs, cafés, etc.) but a good bit also comes from the home. In a bid to change the way Britons view food use, the government launched the "Love Food, Hate Waste" campaign.