The Average American Throws Away a Pound of Food Per Day, New Study Finds

June 4, 2018 at 7:28 pm

More than 150,000 tons of food are sent to the dump every single day in the United States, enough to feed 2 billion people

The average American throws out a pound of food per day, mostly fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat, a new USDA study finds.

That’s a total of 150,000 tons of food per year, enough to feed 2 billion extra people per year.

More than 30 million acres of land and 4 trillion gallons of water are wasted growing this food.

Americans eating the healthiest diets are the most wasteful, because of their high consumption of fruits and vegetables, as opposed to highly processed non-perishable foods, which don’t go bad as fast.

“We need a simultaneous effort to increase food quality as well as reduce food waste,” said study co-author Lisa Jahns, a USDA nutritionist.

Another recent report by the Center for Biological Diversity found grocery stores are just as wasteful as individual consumers.

Only four of the 10 largest grocery chains in the US have food specific waste reduction commitments. Another four chains don’t have any policy in place to prevent the waste of food considered too cosmetically “imperfect” to sell.

Walmart achieved the highest grade in food waste prevention, a B, while Aldi got the worst, an F. Trader Joe’s, Target and Whole Foods all received a grade D.

“There is just so much wasted food at so many levels,” said Jordan Figueiredo, who runs the “Ugly” Fruit and Veg Campaign and collaborated on the report.

“Supermarkets usually get a free pass for doing anything to reduce wasted food or donate extra food. There is so much more they can and should do to reduce wasted food, especially given that they are essentially the gatekeepers for our food.”

Figueiredo said there needs to be better funding for food recovery and wider use of composting, which is only available to about one in 10 Americans.