How Much Money Do Americans Waste by Throwing out Edible Food?

It is estimated that the United States wastes about 40% of its edible food each year. Collectively, Americans are thought to throw away about $165 billion USD worth of food annually, although it can be difficult to track the precise values. The amount of food that gets wasted is thought to be about 50% more than Americans wasted during the 1970s and about 10 times more per person than the average person wastes in Southeast Asia. In 2013, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began an initiative to fight food waste in America, which they say contributes to climate change because of gases released by decomposing food in landfills.

More about food waste:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 2% of the energy in the US goes toward the production of food that ends up being wasted.

  • The average American wastes about 1,400 calories worth of food each day, or about 70% of the recommended daily calorie allowance in the average person's diet.

  • About 20% of the world's population will be at risk of being malnourished by 2050, according to projections by the United Nations' World Food Project.
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Discussion Comments


Or maybe your family was less wasteful because your family had six kids to feed. Not all families are identical.


There is no way that my family comes anywhere near wasting 40 percent of our food. I have a grown family of six and we have never had that much waste. This sounds like the media and the government beefing up its socialist efforts.

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