23 American Food Waste Facts: Global Disproportion And Scarcity! | Kidadl


23 American Food Waste Facts: Global Disproportion And Scarcity!

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Food waste is expected to account for 30-40% of the food supply in the United States.

According to USDA's Economic Research Service projections of 31% food loss at the retail as well as consumer levels, this estimate equated to around $161 billion in food losses throughout 2010. This volume of garbage has far-reaching societal implications.

It translates to about 1 lb (440 g) of food wasted each person per day in the U.S. As per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we squander a third of all food grown for human consumption. It is unacceptably high, with 50 million people predicted to be living in food insecurity by 2021. There is so much to know and learn about the great American food waste problem, and you can begin your deep dive into this topic with just this topic!

Social Issues: American Food Waste 

Our take-out society does not consume food in its totality as our forefathers did. Instead, we squander leftovers and throw away food scraps that could be eaten or composted. According to experts, food waste is not just a social expense. Still, it also adds to developing environmental concerns such as climate change, as food production consumes large amounts of water, fertilizer, and land.

  • The majority of food waste ends up in landfills, in which it decomposes and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Solid food waste can be caused by several factors, including uneaten food thrown out in households, supermarkets, and restaurants.
  • According to research by consulting firm McKinsey, domestic food losses waste eight times as much energy as agricultural food losses.
  • Food loss and waste could be defined differently by nation, company, and consumer. Food loss occurs for various causes, with some forms of loss—such as contamination at every stage of the manufacturing and distribution process.
  • Food loss can occur between the retail stage and the farm gate due to drying, milling, transportation, or processing issues that expose foodstuff to rodents, molds, birds, insects, and pathogens. Food loss can occur at the retail level due to equipment failure (such as poor deep freeze), over-ordering, as well as the culling of defective goods.
  • Finally, consumers can contribute to food loss by purchasing or cooking more than they require and discarding the excess. According to ReFED, a nationwide charity devoted to preventing food loss and waste, 35% of the food available in the United States goes unsold or uneaten.

Taste Issues: American Food Waste 

Food waste occurs in the kitchen for several Americans as we cook food that goes uneaten or degrades in our refrigerators and cupboards. Much of the food thrown out each year is perfectly edible and healthy.

  • Americans are notorious for being impulsive when it comes to food purchases, overestimating how much food is necessary and, as a result, purchasing more food than they require or buying food they won't consume.
  • Food waste has permanent environmental implications: it wastes the energy and water used to create it, and it produces greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and methane, which contribute to global warming and account for 11% of worldwide emissions12.
  • Due to a misunderstanding of the meaning of date labels (e.g., 'best before', 'expires on', 'sell by', etc.), an estimated 80% of Americans throw food away early. As a result, retail stores produce over 16,000,000,000 lb (7,257,477,920 kg) of total food loss every year.
  • Estimates of wasted food produced by industry are not added in the Facts and Figures report since it falls outside the purview of municipal solid waste. However, the EPA calculates the creation and management of wasted food in the manufacturing industry, and these numbers are released separately.
  • Food waste and loss contribute significantly to global warming. Consequently, 26.2 % of the meat entering the U.S.S retail market is wasted. The RTS Food Waste for America in 2020 report provides clear - and shocking - food waste facts, such as that 80 billion pounds of food are discarded each year.
Americans waste enough food to have a marked effect on the global ecosystem.

Cultural Differences: American Food Waste 

The existing culture around food production and utilization has resulted in an unsustainable, excessive quantity of waste that, if left uncontrolled, will be harmful to the global ecosystem. The global desire for a western diet heavy in carbs, sugar, and salt is a major contributor to environmental problems, including greenhouse emissions and soil consumption.

  • Proper food preservation, limitation of visibility in refrigerators, half-used ingredients, and overestimated food demands all contribute to food spoilage at home.
  • Excessive Preparation — People preparing or serving too much food account for the remaining third of home food waste. Fears about food safety, as well as inappropriate chilling and handling, might cause farmers to discard potentially acceptable produce.

Ideological Issues: American Food Waste 

Food waste happens at every level of the supply chain, with various types of foods having a higher or lower likelihood of being lost at every stage. For example, according to information recorded by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) from the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, 20% of vegetables and fruit are lost during manufacturing, 12% are lost during distribution, and another 28% are misplaced at consumer level.

  • Food loss on farms is influenced by several uncontrolled factors, such as crop variety and quality, current value, and customer demand. If there isn't a market for a particular crop, it's good for the environment for growers to plow the crops back into the ground and lose money rather than harvesting and storing food for distribution.
  • Cosmetic flaws (resulting in 'ugly produce') are another major source of food loss on farms and during harvest because consumers are less attracted to blemished or misshaped goods. Increased portion sizes in restaurants, schools, and the home contribute to over-purchasing, yet this is not the most dramatic source of food waste.
  • Food waste has a significant environmental impact in the United States. Food rots in landfills, releasing greenhouse gases that are 28-36 times more powerful than carbon released by passenger automobiles.
  • Food waste alone accounts for 8% of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) production, making landfills the third-largest commercial producer of methane.
  • Although composting, organic recycling, and anaerobic digestion can help mitigate the effects of these emissions, the best strategy to minimize emissions is to discard less food regularly.
  • Reducing food waste in America will take time. But, as we've recently learned, there is more to food loss than what don't consume.
  • We squander $161 billion every year (with the typical American household of four tossing out $1,500 wasted food annually) while destroying natural resources, damaging the environment, including wasting food that might help the country's 54 million food insecure individuals.
  • If wasted food is thrown out, it decomposes, emitting greenhouse gases that harm the ecosystem. To put this in context, if wasted food were a nation, it would be the world's third greatest emitter of Co2, trailing only the United States and China.
  • Small actions to reduce food waste, such as consuming leftovers and only purchasing what you need, contribute to the battle against climate change and global hunger. Assessments of wasted food production from the household, institutional, and commercial sectors, as well as assessments of how it is managed through various paths, are included in the EPA report.
  • The 2030 FLW reduction target is to reduce food waste to the environment by 50%, to 109.4 lb (49.62 kg) for each person. Through cooperation, vision, and action, the EPA works with partners across the food system to reduce waste. USDA is adopting the standard of referring to declines in edible food mass wherever along the food chain as 'food loss and waste' for the reduction goal.
  • Feeding America, the nation's most prominent food rescue organization, works with food producers, restaurants, grocery stores, and producers to rescue food and send it to local food banks. By organizing your meals ahead of time, you may create a detailed shopping list and minimize impulsive buying at the grocery store.
  • It would be negligent of us not to consider the Food Recovery Plan while discussing reducing food waste in America. The EPA  and the USDA designed the food recovery hierarchy to highlight the most efficient approaches to deal with food waste. Organizations that participated in the Food Waste Challenge are urged to become Food Loss and Waste 2030 Ambassadors in the United States.
  • The most excellent way to avoid food loss and waste is to avoid producing it in the first place. Product creation, storage, marketing, shopping/ordering, labeling, and cooking procedures may be improved to reduce waste. If excess food is inevitable, recover it and give it to hunger-relief groups to help feed those who are hungry. Animal feed, manure, worm castings, bioplastics, bioenergy, and textiles may all be made from inedible food.
  • Food may be donated to food pantries, or leftovers can be sent to needy persons. MealConnect, one of Feeding America's latest inventions, connects food businesses straight to the Feeding America system, allowing for safe and speedy food donations. Start applying these methods right away to reduce food waste, help the environment, and save money.

<p>Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.</p>

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