Throwing Natural Resources Out with the Garbage


Written by: Anon Watcher


Some of you may be shocked to hear that food wastage is one of the best hidden, and largest disgraces of our time. Currently, 1 in 7 Americans are food insecure. In laymen’s terms, this means they are often hungry with no ready access to food. Yet, worldwide we produce 27% more food per person today than we did fifty years ago. In dollars, the United States loses somewhere between 165 billion and 170 billion dollars annually on food wastage.

To break this down even further, the waste of this perfectly good food is enough to feed every American two times over. Not only this, the cost of the waste far extends past the dollar value. When we waste our food, we also waste the energy used to produce it; fossil fuels, transport, and water.  The negative impacts on the environment as a consequence are far reaching. The emissions from the landfills created by this food waste produce Carbon Dioxide, a leading contributor to climate change. [1]


Here are just some of the few statistics broken down for you:

  • One gallon of milk wasted, equates to one thousand gallons of water used to produce it.


  • One half of the food produced in the United States is wasted annually, between the “farm and the fork.” This is broken down to 8% loss during production, 4%in the food industry, 6% by supermarkets, 15% in restaurants, and 25% in households. [2]


  • 2.5 million children die worldwide of malnutrition every year.[3]


  • 870 million people are food insecure. [4]


  • 28% of agricultural land that is growing crops, are wasted. This is larger than the land mass of China and Mongolia placed together. [5]


  • The 165-170 million dollars lost on this waste each year, is five times more than foreign aid expenditure in 2011.


From these figures, it isn’t hard to see how the food waste problems we face on a global scale, are the cause of many great social issues. But these aren’t issues that are impossible to tackle.

In the United Kingdom, Tristram Stuart has founded The Gleaming Network UK to tackle such issues. Stuart’s campaign has caused waves over the nation. In his effort, he has recruited hundreds of volunteers on his database, to help collect and redistribute fresh produce from farms. This fresh produce would otherwise be wasted.  According to one interview conducted between Stuart and a farmer, up to 100% fresh produce is unused because it doesn’t fit strict “cosmetic standards” of the market. Stuart goes on to say that the market has the right not to accept perfectly good produce also because of the “surplus to requirement” rules. As a result, anywhere between 20% and 100% of produce is squandered. And it is this very produce – completely edible and viable – that his volunteers collect and redistribute to those in need. [6] Gleaning_01_980_370_s_c1

Stuart’s effort has yielded positive results, providing thousands of meals to those in need through various charities. It is part of a small revolution that is taking place across the world. We can all be a part of it, starting at home. For as little as packaging and storing food correctly, so we don’t discard as much, or ordering smaller portions in a restaurant to cut back on excess waste, we can all do our part in this uprising against such an appalling neglect of our precious resources.



[1] True Activist (24 August 2014) “Everything You Need To Know About Food Waste…In 11 Short Films.” (Retrieved 26 August 2014)

[2], [3], [4] Visually (11 July 2013) “Food Waste – A Story of Excess.” YouTube (Retrieved 26 August 2014)

[5] Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (11 September 2013) “Food Wastage Footprint.” (Retrieved 26 August 2014)

[6] (2013) “The Gleaming Network UK.”  Vimeo (Retrieved 26 August 2014)


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  1. Wow, what a great idea! The fact that farmers throw away food that, “doesn’t fit strict cosmetic standards,” BLOWS ME AWAY! To be honest the first thing I thought of when I silently read those words in my mind was that I immediately made a correlation to Nazi Germany. Now I’m not a plant loving kook, not by any means, hell I hardly even eat vegetables, (its sad, I know), but I have had to use the services of my local food bank in the past. Services that people offer and provide during their free time and I commend these guys on doing a similar civil service.

    Great job, and good article!

  2. Go to almost ANY GIANT foods, WHOLE FOODS and a few others and you will see WASTE first hand, I have been shopping late at nite ( to avoids crowds of people and it’s overal better), and saw them just clearing the vegtables right into a GIANT rolling bin then duming them out into the dumpster. GOOD, BAD INDIFFERENT it ALL went so they could restock with FRESH for the next day, VERY SAD but YES it happens. This food could be DONATED etc… INSTEAD of just written off and DUMPED.

  3. Excellent story.
    I remember when i was a kid working at McDonald’s i was carrying out trash and they had a dedicated bin for the food that had gotten cold.
    this was back in the days when they had everything made already so this stuff was fresh.
    And i walk around the corner and there’s this little older gentleman and his little dog digging in the dumpster.
    he was startled by me and said please don’t call the cops i’m just trying to find something for my dog to eat.
    i said sir i wouldn’t do that anyone i couldn’t sleep at night if i did something like that.
    I looked down in the box i had all that food in and said here this is virgin food it’s fresh and better yet it’s clean and i even lucked out and happen to have a couple of large drinks from some people that drove off and forgot them.
    so i gave him and his cute little dog that whole box of food and was glad to do it because it was a win win i hated to waste food and they needed food so i felt pretty good.
    then i get back in the store and i’ll be damned if i didn’t get my ass chewed up one side and down the other and was told i would be fired if i was seen doing that again so i argued and expressed my disgust and should have quit that night but mom and i were on our own so i needed to help things at home as much as a could.
    sorry i just had to share that story it happened when i was 15 and i’m 40 now and it still bothers me.
    but it’s not only food.
    The evil corporation known as Walmart is the single biggest waster of food and (get this) clothes i have ever had the disgust of seeing.
    I mean brand new clothes.
    clothes of all sizes from infant’s sizes all the way to adult.
    And i mean some stores throw out roll off boxes full (30 cubic yards).
    some people caught on and was getting them out and saving them and when they got caught the stores started destroying them.
    they would cut them up and tear them up a local news team got wind of this and they said they would change there policy i don’t know if that ever happened.
    and it it makes me want to throw up we have whole family’s living on the street and in there cars but people are so fu****g greedy they would rather throw it out instead of donating it and helping people who could really use the help.
    and there too damn stupid that there greedy ass could deduct it off there taxes (that they don’t have to pay) but i guess that’s too much effort.
    it’s sad and disgusting what people will do for a bunch of paper or numbers on a monitor because that’s all money is.
    humans are so capable of these remarkable and amazing things but greed and religion the things that wars are based on are holding humanity back and may be it’s downfall.
    well maybe we can do something about it.

    • But still there are more people like you and it feels good to be able to find comments like these showing that not all people are greedy as f*ck. Sometimes I really am proud to be human, even though there are enough times as where I would be ashamed.


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