Food Waste Recycling Analysis

In 2019, an enormous 35% of all food in the United States went unsold or uneaten. That’s $408 billion worth of food – roughly 2% of U.S. GDP – with a greenhouse gas footprint equivalent to 4% of total U.S. GHG emissions. Most of this became food waste, which went straight to landfill, incineration, or down the drain, or was simply left in the fields to rot. Businesses, government agencies, funders, and others are already making efforts to address this challenge – but a massive acceleration is needed to achieve national and international goals to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030.

ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the U.S. food system. We estimate that an annual investment of $14 billion over the next ten years can reduce food waste by 45 million tons each year. That investment would result in $73 billion in annual net financial benefit – a five-to-one return. Plus, every year, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 million metric tons, save 4 trillion gallons of water, and recover the equivalent of 4 billion meals for those in need. Over ten years, it would create more than 51,000 jobs – and achieve our 2030 reduction goal.

Our Roadmap to 2030 can help the food system cut food waste by 50% over the next ten years.

Food waste is a systemwide problem, and solving it will require a systemwide response. Our Roadmap to 2030: Reducing U.S. Food Waste by 50% looks at the entire food supply chain and identifies seven key action areas to help guide the food system’s efforts over the next ten years. In line with the "Target-Measure-Act" framework for food waste reduction that’s been adopted around the world, the Roadmap to 2030 is a critical blueprint to help the food system take action.

See the Roadmap to 2030
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*The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation or The Kroger Co.

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