Obama Administration Sets Goal of Reducing Wasted Food Nationwide by 50 Percent

NEW YORK (September 16, 2015) – The Obama administration today announced America’s first-ever goals for cutting food waste nationwide—setting a target of 50 percent by 2030. The announcement comes a week before the United Nations is expected to announce global reduction targets.

A statement follows from Dana Gunders, Staff Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and author of the Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook:

“Today is a historic day for anyone who eats. Wasted food is wasted money, wasted water, wasted land and wasted energy. America is taking solid action to keep more food on our plates. But the government can’t do this alone. We need all hands on deck—from restaurants to grocery stores to household shoppers—to make a serious dent in this problem and ensure a steady food supply for more American families into the future.”


Americans are throwing away 40 percent of food in the U.S., 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 in uneaten food. Yet, at the same time, one in six Americans is food insecure.

When good food goes to waste, so do all of the resources used to grow, store and transport it:

  • 25 percent of our nation’s fresh water goes into producing food that is never eaten.

  • If global food waste was a country, it would have the world’s largest greenhouse gas footprint after the U.S. and China—food waste just in the U.S. is responsible for emissions equal to those from 33 million cars.

  • Food waste is the single largest component of solid waste in U.S. landfills.

  • 28 percent of the world’s agricultural land—an area larger than Canada—is used to grow food that gets wasted.

U.S. consumers are collectively responsible for more wasted food than farmers, grocery stores or any other part of the food-supply chain.

Later this month, 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


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