Tale of the Tape II–Split Decision

Let’s look at another figure from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) study. The ESRC study counts 17 million tonnes of British food waste annually. Fareshare, the national charity that redistributes excess food, says almost one-fourth of that is perfectly edible when it’s thrown away.

To subtract the ‘es’ from 17 million tonnes, we multiply a bit to arrive at 18.7 million tons. Accoring to the EPA, the US dumps 28.5 million tons of food from our US municipal solid waste (MSW) stream into landfills. Then again, the USDA found that the US wastes 96 billion pounds food, or 48 million tons. Yet, neither figure incorporates waste from food processors or farms and the UK figure seems to include all sources.

I’m waiting to hear back from the USDA and we’ll see if they have a way to account for losses at those levels of the food chain. Of course, even with that, we’d have to factor in the minor population difference: there are roughly 300 million Americans and 60 million Britons.

And now I remember why I’m not an economist.

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