A new study suggests that 16 per cent of the total energy used in the U.S. is used in food production and the amount that is thrown away is more valuable than what is available in offshore reserves.
The Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, at the University of Texas at Austin says at least 25 per cent of all food produced in the United States ends up being thrown away. Some estimates put that figure as high as 40 per cent waste.
According to Treehugger, New Yorkers alone waste over 270,000 pounds of food every day.
The study calculates that the energy required to produce the food wasted amounts to 2150 trillion kilojoules lost each year which is according to NewScientist, more than what is projected to be produced by making ethanol biofuel from grains in the United States.
Dairy foods and vegetables came out very high on the scale for waste due to the relatively short shelf life.
The resulting measurements of the consequences of food waste are astounding.
Food waste in the United States accounts for 25 per cent of fresh water consumption and if 40 per cent of all food is thrown away that equals a loss of 1400 calories per day per person. The amount of food thrown away each year in the U.S. alone could feed 2 billion people per year. The waste also is responsible for the consumption of 300 million barrels of oil per year, reports Treehugger.
According to a recent UN report there are approximately 1 billion people today who are malnourished and that number is expected to rise. Growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production prompted the UN report that warns of rising hunger and food insecurity, reported the Guardian. The report suggests that food prices will increase by as much as 40-45 per cent over the next decade.
Some strategies that are reportedly in use to help reduce waste along with our footprint are eating locally, eating vegetarian, eating organic foods and refraining from eating fast or processed foods.
The figures add up to a loss of approximately 2 per cent of the energy consumed in the U.S.. It doesn't sound like much but when you look at the recent Gulf oil spill which adds up to about what Americans use every 6 hours says The New Ideal, it shows that food waste is a much larger problem.