A Sobering Thought: USDA Says US Food Waste Is at 40 Percent

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Warning: the following stats are likely to make you feel pretty depressed. The USDA’s recent report on food waste in America states that about 40 percent of food in the US goes uneaten. But lest we get too bogged down in the dire stats, there is some hope:

American consumer waste is up 50 percent from where it was in 1970s, and food waste in particular costs us an extra $165 billion dollars a year and 25 percent of our freshwater supply. We’re all guilty of wasting food; the responsibility lies with individual consumers, restaurants, and large food companies.

But there are a few start-ups working to reverse this trend, as NPR noted, and they’re worth knowing about. FastCo recently reported on a group of researchers working to figure out a way to turn used coffee grounds and wasted bakery items into fertilizer, plastics and biofuels. Another nonprofit, the Boulder Food Rescue, collects “no longer sellable” produce and packaged goods from grocery stores and redistributes them to shelters, housing projects and at-risk community outlets. Check out the NPR article to read more about startups and nonprofits working to reduce our food waste.

If this has you recommitted to reducing your own kitchen food waste, check out these posts for some helpful tips and advice: