NEW YORK (September 25, 2015) – The countries of the United Nations today adopted their first-ever shared goal for cutting food loss and waste worldwide—setting a target of cutting per capita food waste in half from the retail and consumer sectors by 2030.
The target is part of a broader set of Sustainable Development Goals launched today to promote prosperity for people and the planet over the next 15 years—addressing issues ranging from extreme poverty to inequality and climate change.
It comes a week after the Obama administration set a target for reducing U.S. food waste 50 percent nationwide by 2030.
A statement follows from Dana Gunders, Staff Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and author of the Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook:
“Our world leaders are taking a stand to keep more good food on people’s plates, and out of the trash. Too many people around the world are going hungry for us to be throwing away as much as we do. And world resources—from water to land and energy—are too scarce to squander them on growing and transporting food that will never be eaten. To meet this ambitious new goal, we need everyone who grows, serves and eats food to do their part to ensure a steady global food supply into the future.”
When good food goes to waste, so do all of the resources used to grow, store and transport it:
- If global food loss and waste was a country, it would have the world’s largest greenhouse gas footprint after the U.S. and China.
- 28 percent of the world’s agricultural land—an area larger than Canada—is used to grow food that never gets eaten.
- In the U.S., 25 percent of our nation’s fresh water goes into producing food that is never eaten.
- Food waste is the single largest component of solid waste in U.S. landfills.
The U.S. is throwing away 40 percent of its food, the equivalent of $162 billion in wasted food each year. That’s a problem that’s costing the average American family roughly $1,500 every year. Yet, at the same time, one in six Americans is food insecure.
U.S. consumers are collectively responsible for more wasted food than farmers, grocery stores or any other part of the food-supply chain.
Next week, Gunders is releasing a book—the Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook—aimed at helping consumers tackle this problem in their own homes, one meal at a time. More info here: http://www.nrdc.org/media/2015/150909.asp.