Food Waste and Global Warming
Here are some facts about food waste and its enormous impact on global warming:
- 40% of our food is wasted and if our country reduced food waste by only 15%, we'd feed 25 million more people every year.1
- Every 100 pounds of food waste in our landfills sends 8.3 pounds of methane into the atmosphere. Methane has 28 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide.2
- If global food waste were a country, it would rank third in greenhouse gas emissions after China and the U.S. Here's how food waste breaks down by type of food worldwide.3
- Reducing food waste is the third most impactful solution to global warming, according to Paul Hawken's Project Drawdown.4
- 25% of all freshwater in the U.S. is used to produce our wasted food each year.5
- There were 1,249 calories of food waste per capita each day in the U.S. in 2010 at the retail/consumer level.6
- According to a 2008 Marin Sanitary Service study, 9.4 million pounds of food waste were being disposed into Marin landfills at that time.7 MSS is doing great work with Marin residents and businesses to reduce that total, but there is clearly much fresh food being wasted in our county. Joe Garbarino, owner of Marin Sanitary Service, reports that “nearly 30% of the waste that goes to the landfill is food” in Marin.8
- California state law requires businesses with a minimum amount of organic waste, including food and food scraps, to recycle it -- rather than having it disposed in our landfills -- as of April 1, 2016.
It is heartbreaking to see men, women, and children go hungry in our community. And it is heartbreaking to see so much fresh, nutritious food go to waste.
Please join us in helping to end hunger and food waste in Marin County:
1 Natural Resources Defense Council, “Wasted: How America is losing up to 40% of its food from farm to fork to landfill,” 2017.
3 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Food wastage footprint & climate change,” 2015
4 Project Drawdown, 2017.
5 Hall KD, Guo J, Dore M, Chow CC (2009) The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in America and Its Environmental Impact. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. PLoS ONE 4(11):e7940
6 USDA Economic Information Bulletin EIB-121, February 2014.
7 Marin Sanitary Service, personal communication, January 2014.
8 Marin Independent Journal, March 19, 2014.