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Read the latest edition of Talkin' Trash.

How does wasted food impact us?

Environmental impacts:

agricultural field being watered

It takes 52 gallons of water to produce one glass of milk!

  • If wasted food were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases world-wide.
  • In the U.S., wasted food produces 14% of our greenhouse gas.
  • World-wide, it takes 2.5 billion acres to grow just the food we waste.
  • 25% of all the freshwater in America is used to produce food that is wasted. This is the approximate annual flow of the Mississippi river.

Economic impacts:

food in a trash can

Your family may waste more than $130 of food each month!

  • The average family throws out $130 to $230 worth of food a month.
  • The retail value of preventable food waste from American households is estimated at $125 billion a year ($750 billion worldwide—6 times the amount spent on development aid).
  • In the United States, $165 billion annually is wasted on food that doesn't get eaten, while another $750 million is spent landfilling the wasted food.

"The Western world's over-consumption of food is affecting global food prices: the more we in the West consume (and the more we throw out), the greater global demand for food becomes - and the higher food prices rise globally."

Secretary-General, Danish Red Cross

  • While the details are complicated, wasting food increases the cost of food. This is due in part to the fact that resources used to grow and transport food, like water and energy, cost money. As we need to grow more food, because of waste and increasing populations, cost for food goes up.
  • Those costs translate to higher costs at the store, making it harder for low-income people to afford enough to eat. One example of this is the rising cost of some fruits and vegetables due to the drought in California.

Social impacts:

kid looking down at empty plate
  • Increased demand for food raises prices—whether we eat that food or throw it out. This impacts low-income families the most, since a larger portion of their income goes toward buying food.
  • 1 in 6 Americans lack a secure supply of food while we waste 40% of what is produced.
  • Reducing food loss in this country by just 15 percent could help feed more than 25 million Americans every year.
  • Britain initiated a large-scale campaign similar to WasteLessFood in order to reduce food waste in the UK. Within 5 years, they had succeeded in a 16% reduction of wasted food – enough food to feed roughly 25 million people annually. It works! It can be done!
  • Currently, 50 million Americans do not have enough to eat.
  • The UN recently published a report stressing that reduction of food waste could be a major player in the world-wide efforts to feed a growing world population.

The time has come to WASTE LESS FOOD!


Wasting food is not a game...show. Listen now.




Contact us

Call Gabby Byrne at (360) 867-2284 or e-mail Byrneg@co.thurston.wa.us.

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