Stats

The issue of food waste is integrally connected to world hunger and alters the price of food and natural resources.  Food waste negatively affects our environment by creating greenhouse gas emissions and polluting the ground water while rotting in landfills. Additional greenhouse gases are produced and natural resources are wasted by producing and transporting food that is never eaten. Increased portion sizes are an obvious link to food waste and obesity. Ironically, food waste also leads to less availability and increased prices of healthy food for many, which also contributes to obesity by forcing consumption of empty calories.

Changing your behaviors to reduce food waste can have a positive impact on many issues including world hunger, our environment, animal welfare, obesity, and more!

Food Waste:

  • A 2009 study found that Americans waste 40% of available calories.  That’s about 160 billion pounds of food each year – enough to fill the Rose Bowl to the brim daily! (Bloom, 2010)
  • 32% of fresh vegetables in supermarkets, restaurants, and households are wasted. (Bloom 2010)
  • In many fisheries, an estimated 70–80% of fish perish in the process. (Stuart 2009)
  • On average, we now waste between 33% and 50% of each animal we kill. (Stuart 2009)

More information on this topic below.

Hunger:

  • The squeeze on global supplies caused average food prices around the world to rise by 54% in 2008, which contributed to pushing an estimated 44–100 million additional people into chronic hunger. (Stuart, 2009)
  • Food thrown out in the US – by households, supermarkets, restaurants, and convenience stores – would have been enough to satisfy every single one of the world’s malnourished people two times over. (Stuart 2009)

More information on this topic below.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

  • 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from producing, transporting, storing and preparing food that is never eaten.  (Stuart 2009)
  • When food is disposed in a landfill it rots and becomes a significant source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Landfills are a major source of human-related methane in the United States, accounting for more than 20 percent of all methane emissions. (www.epa.gov)

More information on this topic below.

Energy, Water & Land Use:

  • Food represents 17 % of total American energy use. The average American home invests more of its energy dollars in food than it does in anything besides heating and cooling the home itself. (Bloom 2010)
  • 90% of the water consumed in the US is for animal and crop-related farm uses. (Bloom 2010)
  • It takes 8.3 million hectares of agricultural land to produce just the meat and dairy products wasted in UK households and by consumers, retailers and food services in the US. (Stuart 2009)
  • UK = 24.2 million hectares of land (www.fao.org) and South Carolina = 8.1 million hectares (www.sc.gov)

More information on this topic below.

Food Surplus (things NOT being done to reduce waste):

  • Shops and restaurants in Europe and the US provide 3,500-3,900 kilo-calories per person per day, or up to 200% of what they physically need. (Stuart 2009)
  • A typical restaurant meal has at least 60% more calories than the average home-cooked meal, and diners leave an average of 17% of their meals uneaten. (Bloom 2010)
  • Portion sizes increased dramatically in the US in the 1980s.  The average cookie has ballooned to 700% of its size two decades ago, the diameter of the average bagel has doubled, McDonald’s large fries jumped from 3.5 oz in 1972 to 6.3 oz, and the average dinner plate expanded by 36% since the 1960s.  (Bloom 2010)
  • Fresh fish and fruit cost up to five times more per calorie than fast-food meals and soft drinks. (Stuart 2009).

More information on this topic below.

Hunger

Acute hunger or starvation is often highlighted on TV screens. These situations are the result of high profile crises like war or natural disasters, which starve a population of food. Yet emergencies account for less than eight percent of hunger’s victims. Daily undernourishment is a less visible form of hunger — but it affects many more people. (http://www.wfp.org/hunger/what-is)

The squeeze on global supplies caused average food prices around the world to rise by 23 % in 2007 and by 54 % in 2008, which contributed to pushing an estimated 44–100 million additional people into chronic hunger. (Stuart 2009)

As of March 2008, an additional 17 million Pakistanis sank into food insecurity, swelling the numbers of the hungry to 77 million, nearly half the country’s population. (Stuart 2009)

In 2007 there were 923 million undernourished people in the world. The average calorific deficit for malnourished people in the developing world came to 250 kcal per person per day. (Stuart 2009)

Today, more than 49 million Americans don’t get enough to eat. (Bloom 2010)

15% of Americans didn’t have enough to eat at some point during the year. (Bloom 2010)

Two thirds of Americans are overweight, half of those are obese, and nearly 8 % suffer from the related condition of type 2 diabetes. (Stuart 2009)

Environmental impact

Landfills

Landfill

Landfill

In the U.S., food scraps are the second-largest component of the national waste stream, making up 19 % of what we dump into landfills. Food buried in a landfill today could still be emitting gas 20 years from now. (Bloom 2010)

A composting operation may charge $40 per ton for food waste. Compare that to the $135 per ton landfill disposal rate.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Food has the highest rate of methane yield. Methane has been found to trap heat far more effectively than carbon dioxide. (Bloom 2010)

When food is disposed in a landfill it rots and becomes a significant source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Landfills are a major source of human-related methane in the United States, accounting for more than 20 percent of all methane emissions. (www.epa.gov)

20 % of all greenhouse gas emissions come from the production and preparation of food. 10 % of all greenhouse gas emissions in these countries come from producing, transporting, storing and preparing food that is never eaten. (Stuart 2009)

  • Americans make up less than 5 % of the world’s population, but we supply almost 25% of global greenhouse-gas emissions. (Bloom 2010)
  • More than 30% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions come from food production. (Stuart 2009)
  • Total emissions from food wasted is 18 million tonnes (1 tonne = 1000kg), which is equivalent to the emissions from 5.8 million cars or 21 % of cars on UK roads. (Stuart 2009)

Assuming that global food consumption is responsible for around 30% of total emissions, eliminating 20% of production would cut emissions by around 6 %. (Stuart 2009)

Energy use

Food represents 17 % of total American energy use. The average American home invests more of its energy dollars in food than it does in anything besides heating and cooling the home itself. (Bloom 2010)

About 400 gallons of oil are expended to feed one person for a year, roughly equivalent to 33 car refuelings. (Bloom 2010)

Land use

It takes 8.3 million hectares of agricultural land to produce just the meat and dairy products wasted in UK households and by consumers, retailers and food services in the US. (Stuart 2009)

Our land use is upsetting the climate, hydrological cycle and soil to such an extent that the United Nations now estimates that the world’s agricultural land may decline in productivity by up to 25 % this century. (Stuart 2009)

It is estimated that we have already reduced the world’s ‘natural capital’ by two thirds. (Stuart 2009)

Global waste

02.Global WasteWaste is a product of food surplus, and surplus has been the foundation for human success for over 10,000 years. (Stuart 2009)

25% of the world’s food supplies are being unnecessarily wasted. In addition, the world is wasting water amounting to approximately 675 trillion liters per day, or easily enough for the household needs of 9 billion people using 200 liters a day. (Stuart 2009)

India alone wastes more than Rs 580bn ($14bn) of agricultural produce every year, largely because the infrastructure to bring harvests to market before they are spoiled is lacking. (Stuart 2009)

If UK consumers halved their waste and sent the saved money to, say, Pakistan, it could buy nearly enough flour for the entire population. (Stuart 2009)

Surplus – A mathematical view

03.Mathematical pic 1       04.Mathematical equals sign       05.Mathematical pic 2

The average adult intake was 2,002 kcal per person per day (1,800 kcal for women and 2,200 kcal for men). (Stuart 2009)

Agronomists reckon that in order to guarantee food security, nations should aim to supply around 130 % of nutritional requirements. A supply of 2,600 to 2,700 kcal per person per day would therefore be sufficient for affluent countries. (Stuart 2009)

The shops and restaurants of Europe and the US make available to their populations a smorgasbord of nourishment between 3,500 and 3,900 kcal per person per day, or up to 200 % of what they physically need. (Stuart 2009)

US’s 3,900 kcal per person per day (USDA’s 2004 estimate) means that it has the greatest food surplus of any nation, with 200 % of the energy requirements of the population. US is a nation of over 300 million people with the largest food supply per capita in the world–and half of it is being wasted. (Stuart 2009)

06.Inside the numbersIf all countries kept their food supplies at the recommended 130 % of requirements, and poor nations reduced their post-harvest losses, then 33 % of global food supplies could be saved. (Stuart 2009)

Waste in the U.S.

Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl

In the United States, 160 billion pounds of food are squandered annually—more than enough, that is, to fill the Rose Bowl to the brim.

That’s right, we produce almost half a billion pounds of food waste per day.

An average American creates almost 5 pounds of trash per day. As part of our trash, each one of us discards half a pound of food per day. That adds up to an annual total of 197 pounds of food per person. (Bloom 2010)

08.Minus 50%Two separate sources estimate that America wastes roughly half of its food. The most recent calculations, from a 2009 study, suggested that we squander 40 % of available calories. (Bloom 2010)

At the most economical school, students still wasted a quarter of their food. At another, it was more like 40 %. (Bloom 2010)

09.ManThinking25% of the food we squander in the U.S. alone would provide three meals per day for 43 million people. (Bloom 2010)

American retailers, food services and householders throw away around a 1/3 of all the grain-based foods they buy, which would have provided enough nourishment to alleviate the hunger of another 194 million people. (Stuart 2009)

In the US, the food thrown out by householders, supermarkets, restaurants and convenience stores (including grains used to produce discarded animal food), would have been enough to satisfy every single one of the world’s malnourished people two times over. (Stuart 2009)

 Food surplus in the U.S.

Food got cheaper and more available.

10. Money BagAfter an initial postwar increase, food became less expensive every year. By 1957, it was 22 % cheaper than it had been in 1947. Today, it is less expensive than it has ever been. (Bloom 2010)

In the US, between 1983 and 2004, the amount of food available in shops and restaurants rose by 18 %. (Stuart 2009)

Intentional catering excess ranges from 5 to 30 %. (Bloom 2010)

Food also got bigger.

11. Big CheeseburgerPortion sizes began to rise in the 1970s, but “increased sharply” in the ’80s. (Bloom 2010)

  • Bigger burgers have redefined what’s normal when eating out.
  • Average bagel used to be 3 inches in diameter, but that has doubled to 6 inches.
  • Average cookie—somewhat cartoonishly—has ballooned to 700 % of its 1982 size.
  • McDonald’s large fries, added to the menu in 1972, were 3.5 ounces. Today a large is 6.3 ounces. (Bloom 2010)

Size matters for plates too.

The surface area of the average dinner plate expanded by 36 % between 1960 and 2007. (Bloom 2010)

Switching from a 12-inch to a 10-inch plate will mean eating 22 % fewer calories. It would also reduce the amount we waste. (Bloom 2010)

In a Chinese buffet setting, diners who took large plates (10 inches) served themselves an average of 52 % more food and wasted 135 % more than those who selected smaller plates. (Bloom 2010)

 

Waste at home

12. House IconIn the US families spend 10% of their disposable personal income on food in the home. (Stuart 2009)

People who live alone waste 45% more food per person than average households. (Stuart 2009)

One study in the US found that households waste 14 % of their food, though others estimated the figure to be nearer to 25%. (Stuart 2009)

 

Waste in restaurants

Typical restaurant meal has at least 60 % more calories t13.Restaurant Iconhan the average home-cooked meal. (Bloom 2010)

Diners leave an average of 17 % of their meals uneaten. (Bloom 2010)

Kitchens aim to keep waste at only 2 to 3 % of sales. (Bloom 2010)

Kitchens waste between 4 and 10 % of all food purchased. (Bloom 2010)

Food can be anywhere from 30 to 70 % of a restaurant’s total waste stream. (Bloom 2010)

Waste in agriculture

14.Red BarnLoss of local farms

The number of farms in the United States shrunk by 70% from 1935 to 1997. (Bloom 2010)

The average U.S. supermarket produce item travels 1,500 miles before it arrives at its destination. (Bloom 2010)


Water

Farm uses, both animal- and crop-related, represent 90 % of U.S. consumptive water use. (Bloom 2010)

15. CropsCrops

Losses were 29% in the citrus industry and 18% in the vegetable industry. (Bloom 2010)

An estimated 32 % of fresh vegetables in supermarkets, restaurants, and households are wasted. (Bloom 2010)

9% of the commodity crops planted in the United States isn’t even harvested. (Bloom 2010)

At least half of the cucumbers in the U.S. aren’t harvested. (Bloom 2010)

Initial processes of harvesting, transporting and storing in developing countries lose somewhere between 10 and 40 % of harvests. Foreign aid dedicated to improving developing-world agriculture has fallen globally from 20 % of Official Development Assistance in the early 1980s to 3 or 4 % by 2007. (Stuart 2009)

12.5 % of Pakistani wheat was lost from the field to milling. (Stuart 2009)

Across Asia, post-harvest losses of rice average around 13%, though in Brazil and Bangladesh losses are recorded at 22% and 20% respectively. (Stuart 2009)

Animals

16. AnimalsFeeding

40 % of the world’s cereals, including wheat, rice and maize, are fed to farm animals. (Stuart 2009)

In the US, the nation’s livestock eat roughly twice as much food as the Americans themselves. (Stuart 2009)

Globally, we give more than three times more food to livestock than they give us back in the form of milk, eggs and meat. (Stuart 2009)

Consumption

Between 1980 and 2002 in developing Asian countries, per capita consumption of protein from livestock increased by no less than 140%. (Stuart 2009)

In 2003, Americans were eating 24 times more meat per person than Indians. (Stuart 2009)

On average, we now waste between 33% and 50% of each animal we kill. It is more convenient to move on and make a fresh kill than go to the effort of preventing dead meat from reaching its use-by date too rapidly. (Stuart 2009)

75 % of America’s large animal species were wiped out in barely more than a millennium. (Stuart 2009)

Environment

The combined weight of cattle on earth exceeds that of humans. (Stuart 2009)

Meat and dairy products are responsible for nearly a 25% of all environmental damage done by consumption in the EU, including global warming, ozone depletion, acidification, toxicity to both human and natural environments, and eutrophication (and this did not even include deforestation). (Stuart 2009)

Pakistan is the third-largest milk producer in the world but of its 38 billion liters per annum it wastes up to 15 %. (Stuart 2009)

Waste in the fishing industry

Production and consumption17. Fishing Industry

In many fisheries, an estimated 70–80 % of fish perish in the process. American plaice and witch flounder fisheries have comparatively low discard rates of 8.7 and 18.8 % respectively. (Stuart 2009)

It is estimated that 10–12 million tonnes (1 tonne = 1000kg) of fish per year are reportedly wasted through spoilage. (Stuart 2009)

Between 40 and 60 % of all fish caught are thrown back. For every kilo of Norwegian lobster or scampi sold, 5 kg of by-catch are dumped back into the sea. (Stuart 2009)

In February 2009, it is reported that total discards are around 30 million tonnes (1 tonne = 1000kg) a year, and that humans eat barely more 50% of all fish caught. (Stuart 2009)

Environment

Global shrimp-farming industry has already destroyed 30 % of the world’s mangroves. (Stuart 2009)

75% of all marine fish species are to the brink of, or actually below, sustainable population levels. Yet, less than 1 % of the world’s oceans are designated no-fish zones. 10–20 % of oceans–starting with migration routes and feeding grounds–should be no-take zones. (Stuart 2009)

 

Waste by manufacturers and retailers

18. Manufacturing FoodFresh fish and fruit cost up to five times more per calorie than fast-food meals and soft drinks. (Stuart 2009)

Manufacturers often throw away goods with as much as 3 weeks of life left in them. (Bloom 2010)

Food is prepared on-site at 80 % of all convenience stores. Convenience stores waste 26 % of their product, by far the highest percentage of the sector. (Bloom 2010)

In one day, a store can easily throw out enough to feed over a hundred people. (Stuart 2009)

The retail price of any item is two to three times the cost price, which means that it is better to waste two of each product than lose even just one sale by selling out of it. In other words, it is more profitable to overstock than to forgo sales by under-stocking. (Stuart 2009)

Retailers waste around 2.5 million tonnes (1 tonne = 1000kg) of food each year, or just under 2% of the country’s total food supply. (Stuart 2009)

Evidence in the US suggests that the worst category of retailers can throw away proportionally 35 times more food than the most efficient companies. (Stuart 2009)

Due to tight specifications regarding size, blemishes and appearance, between 25% and 40 % of most British-grown fruit and vegetable crops are rejected by the supermarkets. (Stuart 2009)

One thought on “Stats

  1. Pingback: You’re Doing it All Wrong (3/31/13) | Penn Food Waste Revolution

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