How to Reduce Your Food-Waste Footprint

The tons of food people worldwide discard or allow to go bad have serious economic, cultural, and environmental impacts. Consider these stats:

Food Waste

70,000,000,000: The estimated pounds of food Americans discard each year — more than 20 pounds per person monthly.

17%: The percentage of food left uneaten at restaurants; 55 percent of restaurant-meal leftovers are not taken home.

1/4: The portion of all wasted food needed to relieve the 795 million people worldwide suffering from hunger and malnourishment.

$1,600: The estimated annual cost of food and beverages thrown out by the average American family of four.

24%: The percentage of water used for growing food that’s subsequently wasted.

23%: The percentage of all methane emissions in the United States generated by the decomposition of wasted food.

1/3: The percentage of all food that is wasted worldwide.

Reduce your food-waste footprint by following these tips:

  • Buy smaller amounts of perishable foods so you use them more quickly.
  • Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash berries only when you are ready to use them to prevent mold.
  • Plan your weekly meals and include ways to use leftovers, such as stir-fries, soups, smoothies, and frittatas.
  • Buy only the items on your grocery-shopping list.
  • Order only what you know you can finish when dining out and take leftovers home to eat later.
  • Compost food scraps.

Heidi Wachter is an Experience Life staff writer.

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