Food Waste’s Emissions Impact

1.5 percent.

That’s the percentage of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions stemming from wasted food, according to CleanMetrics. It’s not a massive figure, but consider this: The average person’s food waste contributes almost 5 percent of the emissions of the typical car.

And 1.5 percent is a conservative estimate, as it doesn’t include restaurant waste. So add that environmental reason to reduce food waste to the existing list of ethical and economic ones.

But, wait–there’s more bad news! We individuals do not have as much agency as I’d hoped:

And by the time the food has reached you, the consumer, a lot of those emissions are already on their way to the atmosphere. Venkat says that nearly 80 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions come from producing and processing food.

Anyway, it’s quite helpful to have an estimate of food waste-related greenhouse gas emissions. If nothing else, it communicates that our waste impacts the environment.

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