Resources to Understand Food Waste in America

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The resources below may help you understand food waste issues in America. The resources in the top table are PDFs, and they can be downloaded using the form on this page. The resources in the lower table are websites — visit them by clicking the “Website” links.


A Beginner’s Guide to Food Waste (Summer 2016)The study from Material Impact Inc. defines food waste as an environmental, social, and financial problem. This is a great beginning to understanding food waste. It includes an introduction to the subject, info on food waste legislation, current awareness campaigns, and lists tool-kits and other resources available.
An approach to responsible food usage in your life(National Resources Defense Council, 2011)
Estimating & Addressing America’s Food LossesThe landmark 1997 report estimating food loss in America’s food system
Good Laws, Good FoodPutting Local Food Policy to Work for Our Communities (Harvard Law Food and Policy Clinic and John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, September 2017) 174 pages
Keeping Food Out of the Landfill: Policy Ideas for States and LocalitiesThis is an 84-page document from the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic – a resource for those who want to encourage state and local governments to take action against food waste. The state guide to incentives and protections for food donations
Saving Water: From Field to Fork(Stockholm International Water Institute)
The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States (Also includes the summary report.)From the USDA: (Released in February 2014) “In the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. For the first time, ERS estimated the calories associated with food loss: 141 trillion in 2010, or 1,249 calories per capita per day.”
Up to 40% of Our Food is Wasted(National Resources Defense Council, 2012)

Website Links

EPA: Donating Food
By redirecting unspoiled food from landfill to our neighbors in need, individuals can support their local communities and reduce environmental impact. Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated. Donated food can also include leftovers from events and surplus food inventory.
EPA: Reducing Wasted Food at Home
About 95 percent of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. In 2013, we disposed more than 35 million tons of food waste. Once in landfills, food breaks down to produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.
Food Waste Focus Blog
This blog from LeanPath is a one-stop spot for food waste musings and updates, and waste reduction tips.
Sodexo Foundation Report
finds hunger costs far more than it would take to ensure that no citizen is at risk of hunger
United States Hunger and Poverty Facts
(World Hunger Education Service) – compilation of many different studies

SoSA Programs – Our ministry prevents more than 30 million pounds of food going to waste each year. Society of St. Andrew food salvage programs have a positive impact on the environment by reducing landfill waste by as much as 30 million pounds a year. Instead of harming the environment, this food instead feeds hungry Americans.

See our large and growing collection of Food Waste Infographics on Pinterest

Follow Society of St. Andrew’s board Food Waste on Pinterest.

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