Nutrition ,

Waste Not Want Not

By: Courtney Luecking MPH, MS, RD Doctoral candidate: Nutrition

Have you ever thought about how much food you throw away each day? Each week?

In general, America wastes about 40% of the food that is produced each year (Gunders, 2012). That amount of food weighs as much as 123 Empire State Buildings and has economic, environmental, and social costs. The image from the Food and Agriculture Organization details specific examples of those costs.


What exactly is food waste?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service, food is considered wasted when edible portions go unconsumed. This happens at all points along the food supply chain – think farms, manufacturing facilities, transportation, businesses, restaurants, and our own homes. If we could reduce food waste along the food supply chain by just a quarter, this would provide more than 25 million people nutritious, edible food (Gunders, 2012).

How can we reduce food waste?

Check out and support the @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign.

Choose one or a few of the tips from the USDA’s infographic.


Every little bit we don’t waste can have a big impact on our wallets, the wellbeing of our community members, and the health of our environment!


Grace Communications Foundation. Food Waste.

Gunders, D. (2012). Wasted: How America is Losing up to 40 of Its Food From Farm to Fork to Landfill. National Resources Defense Council.

Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign.—veg.html

USDA. Let’s Talk Trash.

  • shaunala

    This is a great topic that I am very passionate about. I grew up in a household that could not afford to waste food so I learned a lot of these tips at a young age. I love the idea of setting reminders on your phone or using an app to track expiration dates on perishable foods. I've lived with many roommates that seemed to throw away more food than they actually ate. It is astonishing to me that people literally have that much "disposable" income. There are so many great alternatives to just throwing away food too. Such as making banana bread out of rotting bananas or making compost out of scrap veggies or apple cores. I hope more people in the future can learn to reduce their food waste, but it all starts with education. Thanks for starting the conversation.