According the USDA, in 2008, 49.1 million Americans, including 16.7 million children, experienced food insecurity. Meanwhile, a quarter of food produced each year in the United States is wasted, adding up to a total of 96 billion pounds, which is 300 pounds per person! Although not all of the food wasted is edible, much of it is. If America were to recover only 5% of the food wasted yearly, 4 million Americans experiencing food insecurity could be fed each day!
When food is wasted, money is also wasted. Each year over 1 billion taxpayer dollars is spent disposing excess food, while corporations waste 31 billion dollars worth of food annually.
Wasted food is also bad for the environment. Rotting food in land fills creates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more effective at retaining heat than carbon dioxide, and is believed to be a significant contributor to global climate change (Environmental Protection Agency). There is more discarded food in American landfills than any other category of solid waste. In 1997, there was 21,380,000 tons of food waste in our landfills (just think of what that amount is today! Yikes!).
So there you have it, recovering perishable food can feed the hungry, cut down on expensive disposal costs, and help the environment. Despite the numbers mentioned, we are optimistic about the future of perishable food recovery. There are nonprofit organizations all across America that are doing a wonderful job reducing food waste and feeding the hungry, and we encourage you to learn more and support them!
Here’s a few that you can “like” on Facebook, including our page 🙂 !
Food Donation Connection (America, Canada, soon expanding to the United Kingdom and Australia)