Why Do We Waste So Much Food?


Originally posted by SESYNC postdoc Quentin Read on his blog.

A plate with silverware and food scraps

Food waste is the trademark problem of our culture of abundance. Pouring huge proportions of our precious land, soil, water, and energy resources into producing food, and inflicting damage on the environment in the process, is necessary to maintain human life. But constructing an inefficient food system that throws out about 40% of the food we produce every day — that is a trademark of our culture of abundance, profligacy, and waste. It’s hard to comprehend the scale of the problem without some comparisons, so here goes:

  • Six garbage trucks full of edible food are wasted every second.
  • The average American citizen is responsible for roughly his or her own weight in food waste each year.
  • Some estimates of global food waste come out to roughly the weight of 10000 aircraft carriers annually — or 2700 Empire State Buildings — or 150 Great Pyramids of Giza — take your pick.

Read Quentin's complete post.