Wasted food is wasted money. And not just money out of our own pockets either. A lot of money goes into producing, processing and shipping food, and into subsidizing farms and manufacturing, and supporting people impacted by the negative consequences of food waste. All of that gets wasted when food is wasted.
It’s difficult to quantify the exact economic impact of food waste worldwide, but some numbers put it between 780 billion and 1 trillion dollars annually. That’s an unfathomable amount of money! While some of that is currently unavoidable (crops lost to drought or disease, for example), a great deal of it is completely avoidable.
What does that staggering number look like on a smaller scale? The numbers are still pretty shocking.
Saving all of the money lost to food waste could leave enough to feed 2 billion people - far more than the number of people currently going hungry around the world.
Both Canadian and US families waste an average of nearly $1,500 worth of food every year, with some estimates putting it as high as $1,700+.
Restaurants that invest in food waste reduction initiatives can potentially save $7 for every $1 invested.
Food waste is estimated to result in about $150 billion in health-related costs due to the use of pesticides.
In fact, the total social cost of food waste - including health care, food insecurity due to rising food costs and lost productivity as a side effect of nutritional deficiencies - is estimated to cost about $900 billion annually.
In 2016, Canadian households wasted about $49.5 billion of food, which would have been enough to feed every single person in the country for 5 months.
Food waste wastes so much more than food. It’s senseless that so much goes into producing literally tons of food just to top up landfills. We need to get serious about food waste at all levels, but especially in our homes. After all, that’s where about 40% of all food waste happens, and while none of us would throw cash directly into the garbage, that’s almost exactly what we’re doing when we waste food. Let’s be heroes. Let’s put an end to senseless waste.
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