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Understanding the food waste problem and how you can help

Every year, we waste 1.3 billion tons of food, enough to feed the world’s undernourished population four times over. Shocking, we know. We produce way more food than we actually need. So why all the waste?


Just under half the food we produce doesn’t find its way into our bellies, and it’s not the farms, grocery stores, or processors that are doing all the wasting. It’s us. According to some reports, nearly half of all food waste happens at home. And when food is wasted the resources we use to produce it are wasted, too. To make matters worse, all that decomposing food creates methane gas. The very same methane gas that’s warming our planet (FACT).

Even though we’re all a big part of the problem, the good news is that we can also be a big part of the solution. So, what can you do?

Great question. Lots, it turns out. And thankfully, you don’t need to go dumpster diving to make a difference, either. Actually, we don’t recommend that.

Ugly food needs love, too

Show some love to those so-called “ugly” fruits and veggies. They taste the same as their aesthetically pleasing counterparts. We promise. It’s not like your local grocer is Tokyo’s Senbikiya Fruit Parlor, so stop looking for that perfect red, unblemished apple the size of a small infant’s head. Thankfully, some of the ridiculous rules that used to prevent the sale of misshapen foods are a thing of the past. But not everywhere. Our attitudes need to change.

Eat smarter

This one’s a no-brainer. Buy only what you need, and don’t waste what you have. If you need to become a list-making fiend to make sure you don’t go overboard during your weekly grocery outings, go for it. Also, befriend your freezer. Freeze bread, sliced fruits, and veggies, and any of those perishables you’ve already prepped.

Donate it

Local foodbanks put food that could go to waste into the hands of those who need it most. There are also a ton of companies finding new and interesting ways to address the food waste problem. Grocers like Originial Unverpackt in Berlin, for example, package products in reusable containers and give consumers the choice to buy as much or as little as they like. Some restauranteurs have jumped on board, too. Rude Food in Sweden caters rescued food. As consumers, it’s time for us to get on board!

Get composting—like, now

Though composting doesn’t reduce food waste, it does divert it from your landfill. Which is a good thing. Composting is an easy and effective way of turning your waste into a productive resource: nutrient-rich soil! And you don’t need a yard to do it, either. Whether you live in a condo or a house with sprawling grounds, composting is accessible to everyone.

Get Recycle Coach

If your city is part of our network, you can get Recycle Coach for free today on your app store. Whether it’s tackling food waste or putting a stop to plastic pollution, we make it easy to waste less and recycle more.