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Keep your food—and money—out of the trash!

The average American wastes 209–254 pounds of edible food each year. That is a huge waste of resources and costs a family of four about $130 a month. Yet most people don’t realize they waste that much.


Wasting food has negative impacts for your family, the environment and for our communities.

Economic impacts:

Your family may waste more than $130 of food each month!

food in a trash can
  • The average family throws out $130 worth of food a month.
  • The retail value of preventable food waste from American households is estimated at $125 billion a year ($750 billion worldwide—6 times the amount spent on development aid).
  • In the United States, $165 billion annually is wasted on groceries, while another $750 million is spent landfilling the wasted food.

"The Western world's overconsumption of food is affecting global food prices: the more we in the West consume (and the more we throw out), the greater global demand for food becomes - and the higher food prices rise globally."
Secretary-General, Danish Red Cross

Social impacts:

  • Increased demand for food raises prices—whether we eat that food or throw it out. This impacts low-income families the most, since a larger portion of their income goes toward buying food.
  • 1 in 6 Americans lack a secure supply of food.
  • Reducing food loss in this country by just 15 percent could help feed more than 25 million Americans every year.
kid looking down at empty plate

Environmental impacts:

It takes 52 gallons of water to produce one glass of milk!

agricultural field being watered
  • According to a recent NRDC report on wasted food (PDF), producing food in America takes 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, 80 percent of all consumed freshwater, and 50 percent of U.S. land.
  • Just one pound of beef requires 2,500 gallons of water and 16 pounds of grain to produce. When we waste food, we also waste the resources it took to produce the food.
  • If wasted food were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases world-wide.
  • In the U.S., wasted food produces 14% of our greenhouse gas.

Explore these pages to:

Take the challenge and waste less food!
Use our SMART tips and tools to waste less food.
Learn more about the negative impacts of wasted food
What individuals can do
What businesses can do
Partners and community support
Learn more by visiting our resources page.



Contact us

Call Gabby Byrne at (360) 867-2284 or e-mail

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