We are wasting billions of tons of food every year.
It is estimated that roughly 1.3 billion tons of food that is produced for human consumption becomes food waste across the globe every year. In 2012, Kumar Venkat wrote in the Journal on Food System Dynamics that nearly “29% of annual (food) production” in the United States alone contributed to this avoidable waste. Not only are we throwing out perfectly good food, but we are also wasting other vital resources that it requires in order to produce this food, that doesn’t even make it to our plate. According to the World Water Resources Institute, roughly 45 trillion gallons of fresh water is used annually to produce food we will never even consume.
Not only is the food wasted along with the resources needed to make the food, but it turns out that the processes of breaking these foods down, once thrown out, requires energy and releases greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere, further contributing to our planet’s emission crisis. This is why scientists have declared that eliminating food waste can be the third largest effort that we as humans can make towards healing the Earth’s climate.
So why is all of this food being wasted? Where is it going?
Food is wasted throughout the many stages of production from “farm to fork.” There are situations where food is lost in production simply due to transportation and packing errors. There are other ways, however, in which the food industry blatantly chooses to discard of perfectly healthy food simply because it does not meet the cosmetic standards of perfection.