America’s Waste

By: Emily Guiles

As of 2014 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that 31% of the available supply of edible food in the United States goes uneaten. 430 billion pounds of food is farmed in the United States each year, and 133 billion pounds of that food is uneaten. The estimated value of this uneaten food is 161.6 billion dollars.

An average, middle class American family spends about $151 a week on food. However, on the lower side 8% of families said that they spend about $50 a week.

In 1987 the estimated amount spent on food was $106, adjusted for inflation and adjusted into 2012 dollars it was found that in the United States now families actually spend less per week for food than in the past.

Young adults and those with a higher income typically spend more on food per week. Families with children under 18 years in the household spend approximately $30 more than families that don’t.

Given how much money an average family spends on food a week, each family throws away about $640 worth of that food each year. And the United States spends about one billion a year on food waste disposal. Food waste is the largest component of waste in the United States in weight and makes up about 20% of the landfills in the United States.

There are also environmental concerns regarding the food waste. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that methane gas is potent in landfills and contributes to global warming. Food waste produces a large amount of methane gas, it accounts for about 2% of greenhouse gases.

Most people that throw away food say that it is because they want to eat the freshest food available to them. However, there are other ways to dispose of food waste in an environmentally friendly way. Some recycling centers recycle food waste with safe disposal methods that are better for the environment.