February 12, 2008
A study done at the University of Arizona in Tucson indicated that 40 to 50 percent of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten.
Of the food that actually makes it into homes, 50 million tons of it goes into the garbage, sometimes unopened.
Timothy W. Jones, an anthropologist at the UA, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, has spent the last 10 years measuring food loss. His research found:
- Households dump $43 billion worth of food a year, or about 14 percent of what they buy. That doesn’t include plate scrapings.
- 15 percent of that waste includes products still within their expiration date but never opened.
- 5 percent of American’s leftovers could feed 4 million people for 1 day
- Disposing of food waste costs the U.S. $1 billion a year
- Rotting food releases methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2
- Methane can be harnessed to create clean energy for heat, light and fuel
- Retailers, including restaurants, throw away 35 million tons a year, valued at $30 billion.
- Reducing food waste by half could reduce adverse environmental impacts by 25 per cent through reduced landfill use, soil depletion and applications of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.