With over 7 billion people in the world, and almost 1 billion of them lacking sufficient food or water, it’s no question why so many people are talking about food and water waste. Here, you can find some amazing food waste statistics that will definitely remind you of how important it is to preserve food and water—not just for us, but also for the less fortunate and for future generations.
As you probably already know, food can be wasted in many different ways. It can be wasted in the production or processing stage, as well as within stores or by consumers. Keep in mind that water waste statistics show that almost all wasted water and food is caused by average people, just like you and me.
Read about how we waste food and water and what we can do to minimize this waste. You’ll definitely find something you can do to help, giving you a good reason to be proud of yourself.
The Top 8 Most Incredible Food Waste Statistics
- Greece is the lowest food waste producer per capita, followed by China.
- 4.4 million tons of the food thrown away in the UK is perfectly edible.
- The US is the world’s largest producer of food waste.
- Food waste from school lunches costs the US around $1.2 billion every year.
- Innovation plays a major role in reducing food waste.
- 50% of clean water in the US is wasted.
- The average American has water usage totaling 88 gallons a day.
- 9 million people die of hunger every year.
Food Waste Statistics by Country
1. In 2018, Singapore wasted approximately 763,000 tons of food on its own.
(SG Food Rescue)
According to these food waste statistics, Singapore produced around 2,000 tons of food waste each day, on average. The food waste comes mostly from hotels, malls, markets, schools, and households. Only around 16% of Singapore’s food waste is recycled.
2. Greece is the world’s lowest food-waste producer per capita.
The Food Sustainability Index of 2017 shows that Greece produced an average of 44 kg of food waste per person and that it produces the least food waste in the world. According to global food waste statistics, the total national food waste in Greece is around 473,000 tons per year. Even better, the city of Heraklion, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will launch a smart food card that will track consumers’ habits and notify them of which food items they already have at home.
3. Although China produces 61 million tons of food waste each year, the country’s per capita food waste comes in second to Greece.
Even though China produces a lot of national food waste, when divided by the number of citizens, it happens to have one of the lowest food waste rates per capita—around 44 kg of food a year.
4. Approximately 4.4 million tons of the food thrown away in the UK is perfectly edible.
According to the food waste statistics from 2019, it’s estimated that around 10 million tons of food are wasted in the UK every year. The value of the wasted food is over £20 billion ($26.2 billion USD) and is linked to more than 25 million tons of GHG emissions.
However, not all the wasted food is ready to be thrown away. Some statistics show that more than 4.4 million tons of wasted food are actually perfectly edible. Put another way, an average household is throwing away £470 worth of food each year ($615 USD).
5. Twice as much food is wasted worldwide compared to what’s been previously estimated.
According to the global food waste statistics from 2020, around a third of the food available for human consumption is wasted every year. This is double the amount of food waste previously estimated.
Researchers also found a connection between food waste and wealth, showing that wealthier people tend to waste more food than those who don’t have that much money. Studies also show that as people become wealthier, they tend to start wasting more food than before.
Food Waste Statistics in America
6. The US is considered to be the world’s largest food waste producer.
The EPA has food waste statistics showing that in 2017, the US produced around 40 million tons of food waste. Only 6% of the food waste was redirected from landfills and combustion facilities. The EPA’s approximation is that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other material we throw away. Studies also show that the per-capita amount of wasted food in America was around 613 lbs in 2017.
7. The food wasted from school lunches costs the US as much as $1.2 billion every year.
School lunch food waste statistics show that the food waste made during school lunches costs around $1.2 billion. Compared to the total amount of wasted food every year in the US, around $218 billion, it’s no surprise this number usually goes unnoticed.
Many school systems started prioritizing the financial impact of feeding students, ignoring nutritional requirements. As a result, school lunches are often the wrong size and usually tasteless, too, thus leading to more waste.
8. Every year, supermarkets and restaurants provide at least 400 million pounds of food.
About a third of that gets thrown away. Consumers demand full shelves and fresh products. Despite efforts to make everything seem perfect, supermarket food waste statistics show that around 10% of food in grocery stores is never even purchased. Studies have shown that 30% of the grocery store’s trash is food waste, which mostly includes fruits and vegetables.
9. Innovation plays a major role when it comes to reducing food wastage.
According to the USDA, various food waste statistics confirm that innovation will lead to global improvements in how we reduce, recover, and recycle food. It will not only be economically good for businesses, organizations, and households, but it will also improve overall economic development and increase job opportunities.
Water Usage Facts
10. 50% of clean water in the US is wasted.
Further water waste facts note that around half of the water we use outdoors is lost because of wind, evaporation, or poor irrigation. In fact, automatic irrigation systems that are poorly set up or maintained can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water yearly. When hiring someone to install or check your landscape irrigation system, always make sure they’re certified.
11. Water wastage statistics indicate that the average American goes through about 88 gallons a day.
(EPA, EPA, Plymouthmn)
However, one person can also unknowingly waste up to another 30 gallons. We waste water when we take a long shower or bath, when we leave the tap water on while doing the dishes, when we brush our teeth or wash our faces, etc.
Additional water consumption facts note that an average family in the US uses up to 400 gallons of water per day, and approximately 70% of this water is used indoors.
12. A faucet leaking at one drip per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water a year.
Water waste statistics show that around 10% of US homes have leak issues that can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water every year—or 90 gallons every day. Leaks can occur due to worn toilet flappers and dripping faucets. Fixing these leaks can be a very simple task that can save you up to 10% on your water bill.
Things We Should Keep in Mind
13. Overbuying and bad planning can contribute to wasted food.
There are many factors to calculate when examining what causes food waste in America. Some of them include bad weather, processing problems, and overproduction—all of which occur before food even reaches the market. However, food can also be wasted on farms, on fishing boats, and in manufacturing facilities, as well as in transportation and distribution networks, retail businesses, restaurants and institutions, and households.
14. Around 150,000 tons of food are thrown away each day in the United States.
Further calculations into how much food is wasted per day found that Americans waste around a pound of food per person each day. As we saw in the previous stat, better planning could play a large role in minimizing food waste.
15. 9 million people starve to death every year.
As we throw away more than a third of all the food we have every year, it seems impossible that more than 9 million people could die of hunger in the same period. However, studies have shown that the number of people who die from hunger is greater than the number of people who die from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis all combined. The wasted food would be enough to feed the world’s hungry four times over.
How much food is wasted in the US?
It’s estimated that 30%–40% of the country’s food supply is wasted each year. This is based on estimates from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, which say that around 31% of food waste comes from retail and consumer levels. The USDA has joined with the EPA with the shared goal of cutting food waste by 50% by 2030.
As for how much food is wasted in the US every year, it’s around $160 billion in food. According to the US Department of Agriculture, dairy products alone represent around $91 billion of this total.
(USDA, NY Times)
How much food is wasted in the world?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, around 1.3 billion tons of food are thrown out each year, which is around a third of all the food we grow. The amount of lost and wasted food costs around $2.6 trillion, which is enough to feed all the world’s hungry four times over.
How much food is wasted in school lunches?
Many schools in the US serve poor-quality food, which is often tasteless and prepared in notably large portion sizes. However, the amount of wasted food in school lunches often goes unnoticed, costing around $1.2 billion.
What percentage of water is wasted?
Experts estimate that around 50% of water is wasted. When evaluating how Americans waste water, the natural causes include evaporation and wind. However, a lot of water is also wasted due to bad plumbing, poor landscaping irrigation systems, dripping faucets, malfunctioning toilets, etc. For example, a household with an automatic landscaping irrigation system that’s poorly set up can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water annually.
(The Washington Post, EPA)
How much water is wasted every day?
An average person unknowingly wastes up to 30 gallons of water per day. Water can be wasted from long showers or baths, as well as leaving the tap on while doing dishes, brushing our teeth, or washing our faces.
To Sum Up
As you can see, the food waste statistics show some surprising and terrifying data that could potentially lead to the planet running out of food within the next 30 years.
Always keep in mind that there are people who don’t have the same opportunities we do, so we should always help when we see people in need. We should take care of our resources and avoid overusing water and over-buying food when we don’t need it.