The New York Times published an article on February 25 giving an overview on the economic and environmental costs to producing large amounts of food waste. On its own, the United States produces 60 million metric tons of food waste annually, and this costs and estimated $162 billion. But because food waste is a global issue it would be good to know that one third of all food produced is never consumed and costs $400 billion/ year. The goal is to reduced these wastes by 20- 50 percent by 2030 in order to save $120- $300 billion/ year. This may be an optimistic goal considering that populations continue to rise, and if trends continue as they are now we will be spending a total of $600 billion/ year in 2030.
If saving a bit of green for your wallet doesn’t sell you on the idea, reducing food waste would also help the real greens. Decomposing food 3.3 billion metric tons of greenhouse gasses are produced each year around, which is 7% of the total global emissions. To production of the food that was never consumed also costs money, water, fertilizers, and land. Some cities in the United States have started programs with supply grant money to local organizations to help recycle and compost food products. It’s difficult to determine what would be the most effective way to reduce food waste and this is why it is important to bring this to the attention of grocers, food business, and distributing companies in order to prevent it at the source.