27 Ways To Reduce Food Waste And Save The Economy $100 Million [Report]

By implementing these 27 solutions, 2.6 million tons of food could be prevented from ending up in U.S. landfills each year.

Credit: Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News

Credit: Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News

It seems silly that although there is enough food on this planet to feed all inhabitants, 795 million people still go to bed hungry each evening.

This is largely a result of developed nations wasting a good share of the food which is produced. The United States, for example, is estimated to toss 40% of its food into the garbage; edible waste then ends up in the landfills, where it rots and releases methane into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. This needs to stop. 

Luckily, a new report released by ReThink Food Waste Through Economics and Data (ReFED) outlines some simple ways food waste might be reduced. As a result of following the 27 solutions (below), it is estimated that $100 million could be saved each year and 1.8 billion meals could be prevented from ending up in landfills.

The ReFED website states:

“The Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20 Percent is the first ever national economic study and action plan to reduce food waste at scale. It identifies the most cost-effective solutions and defines research priorities in an effort to spur multi-stakeholder action.”

Credit: ReFED

Credit: ReFED

According to the data, if the solutions are implemented, 15,000 new jobs could be created over the course of a decade. In addition, 2.6 million tons of food would be prevented from ending up in U.S. landfills each year, resulting in 1.6 trillion gallons of water being saved and 18 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions being prevented.


Credit: ReFED

The 27 solutions for reducing food waste and improving the economy follow: 

  1. Consumer education campaigns about food waste which could save $4,531 per year per ton of food saved.
  2. Standardized date labeling which could save $4,547 per year per ton of food saved.
  3. Packaging adjustments which could save $3,443 per year per food ton saved.
  4. Donation storage and handling so food gets to people who need it before going ‘bad.’
  5. Donation matching software for a savings of $2,879 per year per food ton saved.
  6. Standardized food donation regulation which would contribute an additional $2,863 per food ton per year of savings.
  7. Value-added processing like freezing or freeze-drying foods to contribute a $2,783 per ton per year savings.
  8. Donation liability education (teaching donors that they won’t be sued for donating food past its expiry date, for example) for a savings of $2,810 per food ton per year.
  9. Spoilage Prevention for a $2,326 savings per year per food ton.
  10. Local food recovery through transportation donations for a $2,294 annual per ton of food savings.
  11. Waste tracking and analytics for additional savings.
  12. Elimination of over-portioning in all-you-can eat establishments were much food is wasted.
  13. Use of smaller plates for portion control in restaurants.
  14. Manufacturing optimization.
  15. Cold-chain management.
  16. Tax incentives for donors.
  17. Improved inventory management.
  18. More use of imperfect produce, otherwise known as selling the “ugly” fruit.
  19. Use of secondary resellers.
  20. Home composting.
  21. Commercial grey water system installation.
  22. Centralized anaerobic digestion.
  23. Centralized composting.
  24. Use of water resource recovery facilities.
  25. Use of wasted human food for animals.
  26. Community composting.
  27. In-vessel composting.
Credit: ReFED

Credit: ReFED

In addition, the benefits outweigh the cost:

Credit: ReFed

Credit: ReFed


Learn more by visiting ReFED’s website.

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