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Food Waste and Recovery

Food waste being composted
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Food Waste and Recovery

Each day in the US approximately one pound of food per person is wasted.

Today, it is estimated that 1/3 of ALL the food produced in the world goes to waste. This equals 103 million tons (81.4 billion pounds) of food waste generated in America in 2017, or between 30-40 percent of the food supply, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. This means that either these products never leave the farm, get lost or spoiled during distribution, or are thrown away once purchased. This could be enough to feed every undernourished person ON THE PLANET. Reducing food waste would reduce the impact of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Michigan has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 and reducing food waste would help Michiganders reach this goal.

The Food Recovery Hierarchy prioritizes actions that can be taken to prevent and divert wasted foods.

The top levels of the hierarchy are the best ways to prevent and divert wasted foods because they create the most benefits for the environment, society, and the economy.

Food Waste Recovery

Cutting food waste in half by 2030, is one of the key recommendations for Michigan to achieving carbon neutrality.

The Michigan Food Waste Roadmap is a plan to reduce food loss and waste in Michigan, that will identify strategies to guide policy makers on potential incentives, funding mechanisms, technical assistance, outreach, policy changes, and other programs that could be developed to reduce food waste among Michigan businesses and institutions.

Food Waste Recovery

The EGLE Sustainable Food Management hierarchy...

... prioritizes actions we can all take to prevent and divert wasted food. Each level in the hierarchy focuses on different management strategies for recovering value from unwanted food. The top levels share the best ways to prevent and divert waste food. They provide the most benefits for the environment, society, and the economy, while the bottom levels represent the worst options. Preventing food waste is the #1 action each of us can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change too!

Download the sustainable food management hierarchy

Every year, U.S. landfills and trash incinerators...

...receive 167 MILLION TONS of garbage. Over 50% of typical municipal garbage set out at the curb is compostable.

Of the remaining garbage, 21% is food scraps alone. 15% is paper and/or paperboard, 8% is yard trimmings, and 8% is wood waste.

Infographic from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Download the municipal garbage infographic
Compost 101 Video

Compost 101

Got a minute?  Watch this short video or check out our Composting 101 Guide to learn how to compost your food and yard waste.  Compost improves soil quality, saves landfill space and water, and reduces  greenhouse gas emissions helping fight climate change.  Preventing food waste is the #1 action each of us can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change.

What You Can Do to Reduce Food Waste?