Reduce Food Waste in the United States

Target: Michael Young, acting-Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture

Goal: Ensure the United States upholds pledge to halve food waste by 2030.

Over 70 billion pounds of food waste is produced in the United States each year. This accounts for between 25–40 percent of total domestic food production. The United States Department of Agriculture committed in 2015 to cutting food waste by 50 percent by 2030, however the Trump Administration has not signaled whether this goal will be maintained.

Food waste is a major contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 4.4 gigatons of annual greenhouse gas emissions. That total exceeds the emissions generated through all commercial aviation and rivals the total amount generated by entire countries such as China and the United States.

There is an urgent need for increased food conservation as almost 42 million people experience food insecurity each year in the United States. A number which seems cruelly ironic in a country where over 30 percent of the adult population is obese. Pilot projects aimed at diverting food waste to those in need have provided a glimpse of the potential to address both issues simultaneously. For example, the EPA Food Recovery Challenge successfully diverted over 600,000 pounds of food destined for landfills, of which 88,500 tons was donated to families in need.

Reducing food waste carries significant financial benefits in addition to reducing emissions and food insecurity. The value of total food waste in the United States is estimated to be $220 billion annually. A report by the World Resources Institute found that for each dollar invested by companies in reducing food waste, they saved $14 in operating costs. Using the $220 billion annual cost of food waste, a modest 1 percent total investment of $2.2 billion would yield a return of $30.8 billion in operating cost savings.

Improved management of food waste would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, food insecurity and bring significant economic returns. Please sign the below petition calling on the USDA to maintain its pledge to reduce food waste.


Dear Mr. Young,

I am writing to urge that the United States Department of Agriculture reaffirm its commitment to reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030. Over 70 billion pounds of food are wasted each year in the United States. This comes at a time when almost 42 million Americans experience food insecurity.

Programs such as the EPA Food Recovery Challenge, which divert over 80,500 pounds of food from landfills to families in need, have provided a glimpse at the opportunity to reduce both our carbon footprint and level of food insecurity. Please ensure that these programs continue and that the government continues working toward its goal of food waste reduction.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Petrr

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  1. Robert Ortiz says:

    Food waste is shameful and inexcusable especially when there are so many people that don’t have enough or anything at all to eat.

  2. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    in france you dont have to waste food anymore. sometime ago, france passed the law to not waste food.

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