Food Waste Is ...

Throwing Away Leftover Food In Trash Or Garbage Dustbin

Financially draining for families

The average family throws away $1,600 worth of produce each year, totaling $32,000 over 20 years. That's enough for a year of college at the University of South Carolina or Winthrop University!

Food waste landfills

Costly for businesses

$74,000,000,000 (that's 74 BILLION DOLLARS!) is lost annually due to food waste. According to the National Restaurant Association, on average, a restaurant loses four to 10 percent of food they purchase. Working to reduce food waste can cut an individual restaurant's costs by 2 to 6 percent.

Food waste landfills

Overwhelming for landfills

Food is the largest category of landfill waste. Americans discard more food than any other country, nearly 40 million tons — or 30-40 percent of the entire US food supply.

food waste and pollution

Damaging to the environment

When food waste is buried in our landfills, it decomposes anaerobically and releases methane -- and methane is more than 28 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere! Over 14% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. comes from methane released from landfills.

Food Recovery Heirarchy

Food Hierarchy chart graphic shape of south carolina Feed Hungry People, Composting, Landfill

The Opportunities

The amount of food available to U.S. consumers is far greater than the amount we need to live. This surplus of food presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Food rescue addresses food insecurity while also conserving resources and protecting the environment. 

  • Mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions
  • Reduce food waste
  • Protect our water
  • Slow the economic drain

Eliminating surplus food from landfills would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by removing the equivalent of 1/5 of the cars in the US!