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What Is Food Waste?

Most people don’t realize how much food they throw away every day – from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. About 95% of the food we throw away ends up in landfills. In fact, food is the number one thing in America's landfills today.

Consumers are responsible for more wasted food than farmers, grocery stores, restaurants, or any other part of the food supply chain. 21% of the food each person buys goes to waste, with the average American family of four spending $1,500 on food they don’t eat.

Why are consumers wasting so much food?

No one likes to waste, but the vast majority of Americans don’t think about food waste as a significant problem. We tend to think of food waste with restaurants or agriculture rather than our own households. Raising awareness of the issue is the first step to reducing food waste.

What can you do to prevent food waste?

Reduce Wasted Food

  • Shop your refrigerator first before buying more
  • Plan your menu before shopping
  • Buy only what you realistically need
  • Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables
  • Deciphering Dates on Products (PDF)
  • Find more tips at Save the Food

Donate Excess Food

Donate Food for Animals

Additional Resources

Food Waste in the News

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