If you find yourself having to purge your refrigerator’s crisper bin every few weeks, imagine what goes on at a grocery store. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers estimates that annually between a third and a half of all food produced is wasted worldwide. According to the Guardian, approximately 45% of all fruits and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, and 20% of meat and dairy products are wasted by suppliers, retailers, and consumers every year.
British families squander twice as much money on food waste each month as they think they do, according to YouGov research commissioned by Sainsbury’s.
The supermarket said it found that 81% of families of four believe they throw away less than £30 worth of food a month, when in reality they waste nearly double that at £58.30 a month, on average.
Grocery stores in France will soon be banned from throwing away or destroying unsold food, under a bill passed unanimously by the French parliament last week.
Food waste costs countries around the world billions of dollars each year and is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but France’s action was spurred by another type of crisis. Mired in an economic slump, France has seen a growing number of people living off food scavenged from waste bins outside grocery stores, which has prompted an outcry from aid workers and activists.
Food waste is costing the global economy billions each year, and governments should act quickly to reduce it if they want to save money and scale back their carbon emissions, according to a new report.
The report, published this week by the U.K.-based Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP), found that if countries made a point of reducing their food waste, the globe could save a total of $120 to $300 billion each year by 2030. Globally, the report states, a third of all food is wasted, an amount that totals $400 billion each year. And that value will only go up, the report warns — if estimates that the world’s middle class will double by 2030 pan out, the yearly value of food waste could increase to $600 billion.