“Globally, if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.” – United Nations Environment
While we are using up resources for animal agriculture, we are also wasting a significant portion of the food produced in the US. According to the US Dept. of Agriculture, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. That’s approximately 133 billion pounds of food, a total monetary loss estimated at $161.6 billion, and an estimated 141 trillion calories per year, or 1,249 calories per capita per day, in the food supply (based on 2010 numbers).
Globally, food is lost or wasted at about the same rate—according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, one-third of edible food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted each year.
Food loss = food that spills or spoils or is lost before it reaches the consumer. This is typically due to problems in storage, packaging, and processing.
Food waste = quality food that is not consumed. This most often takes place once food has reached retail or the consumer.
The FAO estimates that food loss and waste account for 8.2 percent of the total human-made greenhouse gas emissions. When we toss still-edible food into the trash, it ends up in landfills, where it generates methane, and according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 34 percent of all methane emissions in the US come from landfills.