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Food Waste


It is estimated that forty percent of all the food produced in the U.S. is wasted. If that 40 percent were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind the United States and China. If it were brought down to zero, as much as 11 percent of greenhouse gas emissions could be eliminated.

The best way to prevent waste may be to stop surpluses from occurring in the first place, but that begins when you scrape less off your plate or from your refrigerator. We could reduce the deforestation involved in providing acreage for animals to graze and crops to grow to feed those animals. We could reduce the energy needed to heat, cool, water and care for them, not to mention the labor, the transport and the packaging.

Food waste now accounts for more than one quarter of the total freshwater consumption and approximately 300 million barrels of oil per year.

In addition, as we bring food waste to rot in landfills, it is producing substantial quantities of methane – a gas with 25 fold more potent global warming potential than CO2

This is another area in which we can make an impact. We can plan more carefully before we buy. 


So Much Produce Comes in Plastic. Is There a Better Way?

By Kim Severson 04/02/24
If it seems like plastic surrounds nearly every cucumber, apple and pepper in the produce aisle, it does. What began with cellophane in the 1930s picked up speed with the rise of plastic clamshells in…
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Warmed by waste: Counties could reap fuel from food scraps

By Rob Hubbard 03/27/24
Anaerobic digesters (or “digestors,” depending upon whom you ask) process organic materials like food waste and yard waste and turn them into energy, akin to how your stomach processes food and fuels your body.
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Americans are still putting way too much food into landfills. Local officials seek EPA’s help

By Melina Walling 11/01/23
More than one-third of the food produced in the U.S. is never eaten. Much of it ends up in landfills, where it generates tons of methane that hastens climate change. That’s why more than 50…
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Want to fight climate change and food waste? One app can do both

By Caleigh Wells 10/03/23
More than a third of food grown in the U.S. goes uneaten, and that percentage has increased in the past five years. Much of that food ends up in landfills, where it decomposes, creating a…
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What lessons can Europe teach America about reducing food waste?

One of my favorite things to do when I travel outside of America is to pop into local supermarkets. Not only is it fascinating to see what’s on offer (have you seen the yogurt aisles?!),…
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Georgia cities trying out composting to combat food waste and climate change

By Emily Jones 07/27/23
Most people don’t pay much attention to where trash goes after a garbage truck picks it up. But as the director of Athens-Clarke County Waste Management, Suki Janssen does.
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Is eliminating food waste the key to stopping climate change? Probably not, study says

By Dylan Simard 07/26/23
Reducing food waste may not be as environmentally beneficial as previously thought, according to a new study out of the University of Colorado Boulder.
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Dynamic Pricing Superior to Organic Waste Bans in Preventing Climate Change

By Christine Clark 07/25/23
While composting and organic waste ban policies are gaining popularity across the United States, a new study from the University of California San Diego’s Rady School of Management finds dynamic pricing could be the most…
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Reimagining Food Security Through Sustainable Agriculture and Reduced Food Waste

By Alok Kushwaha and others 07/24/23
In recent years, the concept of food security has come to be associated with sustainability. In this context, it is pertinent to focus on goals 2 and 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which…
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The Future of Food: The food waste problem and its potential

By Nicolle Portilla 07/24/23
Food insecurity, food deserts, obesity, food-related illnesses—no matter where you look, it's clear that the United States and many other developed countries have a tricky relationship with food. Take food insecurity, for example: 100% of…
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Eliminating food waste globally could have fewer environmental benefits than thought

By Sustainability Times 07/21/23
Vast quantities of food are wasted daily around the planet and until this changes sustainable food production and consumption will remain elusive. So will our efforts to reduce environmental impacts.
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NH’s first ban on food waste becomes law in win for composting

By Amanda Gokee 06/23/23
For Albert Diemand, it all began with a composting toilet. One barrier is that composting services for food waste aren’t readily available throughout New Hampshire. Even for residents and businesses that want to compost, it…
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Regional Resources to Reduce and Divert Wasted Food Across the United States

Food loss and waste is a growing problem in our modern society. The amount of food Americans throw away each year is staggering.

Food Waste FAQs

In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This estimate, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and…

Freeze More. Waste Less.

Your freezer could be the secret to keeping ingredients fresh, saving money, and reducing food waste.

Save Food Help The Planet

We dream of a planet with no food waste, and every day we’re working on making that a reality. Our app is the most direct way for you to get involved - just download, log…

A Call To Action On Us Food Loss & Waste Policy

The Zero Food Waste Act introduced by Representatives Julia Brownley (CA), Ann McLane Kuster (NH), Chellie Pingree (ME), and Senator Cory Booker (NJ) would advance a core element of the Food Loss and Waste Action Plan.…

Food Waste in America in 2021

Before COVID-19, it was estimated 35 million people across America — including 10 million children — suffered from food insecurity. That number is expected to increase to as much as 50 million people in 2021…

Reducing Wasted Food At Home

Most people don't realize how much food they throw away every day — from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. EPA estimates that in 2018, about 68 percent of the wasted food we generated—or about 42.8…

Food waste is responsible for 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions

Food losses and waste – in supply chains and by consumers – account for around one-quarter of greenhouse gas emissions from food. That’s 6% of total global emissions.

Misfits Market

We’re a subscription box of misfit fruits and vegetables making it easy and affordable for all of us to eat healthy. We are dedicated to breaking the cycle of food waste by helping delicious food…

Stop Waste

StopWaste helps Alameda County’s businesses, residents, and schools waste less, recycle properly, and use water, energy, and other resources efficiently.

Food Recovery Network

Food Recovery Network is the largest student movement fighting food waste and hunger in America.

Climate Collaborative – Packaging

On average, packaging accounts for about 5% of the energy used in the life cycle of a food product making it a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and for some products, the packaging used…

Food Print – The Problem of Food Waste

Almost half of our food is wasted in the United States. How does this happen? What can we do to solve our enormous food waste problem?

EPA – Food Waste Programs Across the United States

Food loss and waste is a growing problem in our modern society. The amount of food Americans throw away each year is staggering. In 2014 alone, more than 38 million tons of food waste was…

WWF – Take the Food Waste Quiz

Test your knowledge and learn tips.

Food Tank – 59 Organizations Fighting Food Loss and Waste

It’s no secret that food loss and food waste are big problems. At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in markets…


Food Waste and the Complexity of New York City’s Garbage

By Steve Cohen   06/20/23  
Working steadily every day, “New York’s Strongest,” the city’s Department of Sanitation, works to clear our streets of mountains of garbage. The Department is well-managed, and its commissioner, Jessica Tisch, is a creative and effective…
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Assessing the climate change mitigation potential from food waste composting

By Tibisay Pérez, Sintana E. Vergara & Whendee L. Silver   05/10/23  
Food waste is a dominant organic constituent of landfills, and a large global source of greenhouse gases. Composting food waste presents a potential opportunity for emissions reduction, but data on whole pile, commercial-scale emissions and…
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Do Not Allow Even One Fruit Fly Into Your Kitchen Compost

By Katherine J. Wu   04/19/23  
Collecting food scraps in your kitchen can invite insect invaders. But there are plenty of ways to outsmart them. Last week, as my spouse and I were settling into our new home, we were dismayed…
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How New Yorkers’ Food Scraps Get ‘Digested’ to Provide Gas for Homes

By Robin Shulman Agüeros   04/19/23  
For 20 years, New York City officials have discussed developing a compost program, and for a decade they have experimented with small-scale versions. Finally, last month, Mayor Eric Adams launched a citywide initiative to collect…
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Food waste makes up ‘half’ of global food system emissions

By Orla Dwyer   03/18/23  
Greenhouse gases resulting from rotted and otherwise wasted food accounts for around half of all global food system emissions, according to a new study.
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Waste pickers collect food waste, help combat climate change

By Jennifer Mcdermott and Joeal Calupitan   03/17/23  
Marilene Capentes pushes a cart along the streets of Malabon city just north of Manila every morning except Sundays, collecting bags of segregated garbage.
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Opinion We’re thinking about food ‘waste’ all wrong

By Tamar Adler   03/13/23  
Buzz about “food waste” has recently been everywhere. There’s the public awareness campaign to reduce food in landfills in Ohio. Kroger has a Zero Hunger Zero Waste pledge, Walmart a “50% food waste reduction goal”…
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Talking trash with Matt Rogers from Mill

By Rebecca Szkutak   03/08/23  
This week Darrell and Becca are joined by Matt Rogers, the founder and CEO of Mill, a startup that helps its customers turn their food scraps into farm feed. The former founder of Nest talked…
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United States Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions

About the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions
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L.A. now picks up your compostable food scraps. Here’s what you have to do

By Karen Garcia   01/23/23  
The wait is finally over for city of Los Angeles residents wanting to comply with California’s food waste mandate. The Bureau of Sanitation announced Jan. 16 that residents citywide should dispose of their banana peels…
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L.A. now picks up your compostable food scraps. Here’s what you have to do

By Karen Garcia   01/23/23  
The wait is finally over for city of Los Angeles residents wanting to comply with California’s food waste mandate.
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Nest smart thermostat co-founder is back with a new device for the home, focused on food

By Barbara Collins   01/17/23  
Matt Rogers helped to usher in the era of the smart home device as co-founder of Nest Labs, the smart home thermostat that was ultimately acquired by Google.
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How Central Ohio Got People to Eat Their Leftovers

By Susan Shain   01/02/23  
The average U.S. household wastes nearly a third of the food it buys. This community is nudging its residents to change their habits....
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Fuel made from ramen, dishes from coffee grounds: Japan rethinks food waste

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Others   12/09/22  
Though it throws out about 90 pounds of food per person every year, Japan doesn’t rank at the top of the world’s list of waste offenders. Still, what’s discarded represents a serious problem for an…
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Food waste is contributing to climate change. What’s being done about it?

By John Yang   11/26/22  
Discarded food is responsible for as much as 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Rhode Island PBS Weekly's Isabella Jibilian reports on why so much food is going…
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11 Effective Solutions for Food Waste

By Jangira Lewis   10/20/22  
Food waste is one of the biggest environmental problems and challenges of our lifetime and it must be eradicated at all costs. However, some see it as a business opportunity ready for innovative solutions. If…
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Queens curbside organics pilot diverts 1 million pounds of waste in just two weeks

By Ben Brachfeld   10/19/22  
The city’s universal curbside organics collection pilot in Queens has yielded more than 1 million pounds of food and yard waste in just two weeks of operation, diverting the refuse from landfills to instead be…
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BP Bets $4 Billion On Green Landfill Gas, Yielding Another Fat Payday For The ‘Shalennial’ Rice Brothers

By Christopher Helman   10/18/22  
BP yesterday agreed to buy landfill gas producer Archaea Energy for $3.3 billion cash plus the assumption of $800 million in debt. The biggest winner is Daniel Rice IV, the 41-year-old chairman of Archaea, who…
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Inside the Global Effort to Keep Perfectly Good Food Out of the Dump

By Somini Sengupta   10/13/22  
In Seoul, garbage cans automatically weigh how much food gets tossed in the trash. In London, grocers have stopped putting date labels on fruits and vegetables to reduce confusion about what is still edible. California…
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How To Store Fresh Produce To Reduce Food Waste

By Earth911   08/16/22  
When you think about climate change, food waste might not be the first issue that comes to mind. But over two-thirds of household food is lost or wasted — a staggering amount — and approximately…
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Scientists say landfills release more planet-warming methane than previously thought

By The Associated Press   08/11/22  
Landfills are releasing far more planet-warming methane into the atmosphere from the decomposition of waste than previously thought, a study suggests. Scientists used satellite data from four major cities worldwide — Delhi and Mumbai in…
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This Maine farm converts truckloads of food waste to electricity. It still could be taking more

By Charlie Eichacker and Esta Pratt-Kielley   07/21/22  
Open a garbage can in a Maine home, and you’re likely to find some icky surprises: banana peels, coffee grounds, moldy bagels, chunks of chicken. Uneaten food makes up almost 30% of what Mainers throw…
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Food waste costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars a year

By Chloe Sorvino   07/14/22  
Every year, $400 billion ends up in dumpsters, and because it cuts into corporate profits, companies can treat it as tax deductible.
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Food Waste

Food waste occurs along the entire spectrum of production, from the farm to distribution to retailers to the consumer. Reasons include losses from mold, pests, or inadequate climate control; losses from cooking; and intentional food…
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Four Strategies Businesses Can Deploy to Slash Food Waste

By Tonya Bakritzes   05/02/22  
As discussed in the first part of this two-part series on food waste solutions, food waste has consequences for all populations, from economic to social and environmental. Because there are many ways in which food…
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Hundreds of US Cities Composting Their Food Waste Helps Farmers and Cuts Tons of Emissions

By Good News Network   05/01/22  
Last week, new water restrictions issued for millions of residents of Southern California highlighted the need to make agriculture more efficient—and a new statewide composting mandate is providing the solution.
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Food Waste Innovation: Good for Business, Essential for the Earth

By Tonya Bakritzes   04/27/22  
Food waste happens at every stage of the supply chain, with inclement weather, overproduction, distribution and processing issues, and uncertain markets leading to losses even before the food arrives at retail locations, while overstocking, overbuying,…
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Chick-fil-A, Inc. Chooses Darling Ingredients to Turn Used Cooking Oil into Renewable Fuel

Darling Ingredients Inc. (NYSE: DAR), the world’s leading company turning food waste into sustainable products and producer of renewable energy, today announced Chick-fil-A, Inc. has chosen Darling Ingredients to convert its used cooking oil into…
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Google to Cut Food Waste at Facilities through Sourcing Changes, Kitchen Improvements

By Austin Tannenbaum   03/09/22  
Search engine giant Google announced plans to reduce food waste at its facilities earlier this week spanning the entire lifecycle of food served at Google, from where it’s produced to how it’s consumed and what…
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Food Waste and its Links to Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change

By Jean Buzby   01/24/22  
Food loss and waste is estimated to be roughly one third of the food intended for human consumption in the United States. When food is discarded, all inputs used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, and…
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Food Waste and its Links to Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change

By Jean Buzby   01/24/22  
Food loss and waste is estimated to be roughly one third of the food intended for human consumption in the United States. When food is discarded, all inputs used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, and…
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Stopping Food Waste Before It Starts Is Key to Reaching Climate Goals

By Lisa Held   01/05/22  
Brewers turn stale bread into beer. Chefs turn surplus restaurant food into meals for hungry families. A company raises $169 million to turn grocery store scraps into chicken feed. Efforts like these—which redirect existing waste…
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Here’s How California Plans to Convert Food Waste Into Energy and Reduce Harmful Emissions

By Kathleen Ronayne   12/09/21  
Banana peels, chicken bones and leftover veggies won't have a place in California trash cans under the nation's largest mandatory residential food waste recycling program that's set to take effect in January. The effort is…
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California goes to war with food waste. Composting is its next climate crusade

By James Rainey   12/09/21  
That’s the notion behind a state law that on Jan. 1 will require Californians to separate organic material from their other garbage. It’s a landmark reform that aims to transform the state’s throwaway culture —…
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Fighting food waste, one apple at a time

By Michael Birnbaum   11/17/21  
Katherine Sizov crouched down and gently placed one of her sensors in a corner of a cavernous warehouse room that was packed to the ceiling with crates of apples.
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$15 million grant is awarded to university researchers finding solution to food waste

By Lauren Lumpkin   09/30/21  
If America went grocery shopping, it would leave with five bags of food and empty two into the street, according to estimates by experts from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
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Massively Reducing Food Waste Could Feed the World

By Chad Frischmann and Mamta Mehra   09/23/21  
Imagine going to the market, leaving with three full bags of groceries and coming home. Before you step through your door, you stop and throw one of the bags into a trash bin, which later…
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2.5 Billion Tons of Wasted Food Compound Climate Change, Study Shows

By Matt Alderton   08/04/21  
More than 900 million people around the world do not have enough to eat, according to the United Nations World Food Program, which tracks core indicators of acute hunger in near real-time across 92 different…
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Waste not? Some states are starting to send less food to landfills.

By Elaine S. Povich   07/07/21  
Prominent Northeastern grocery store chain Hannaford Supermarkets made headlines recently by declaring that for an entire year it had not sent any spoiled or outdated food to landfills, where the organic decomposition process produces methane,…
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14 Creative Ways to Use Food Scraps

By Rachael Link   05/27/21  
Food waste is a serious issue. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 30–40% of the food supply in the United States is wasted each year. Food waste not only depletes many…
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Turning food waste to renewable energy: USF researchers say it’s possible

By Tony Sadiku   05/26/21  
Student researchers at the University of South Florida are testing an innovative way to reduce food waste and create a more sustainable environment, beginning with their college campus...
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How tech can help grocers tackle food waste

By Paul Boyle   05/26/21  
Tesco’s recent £7.5m fine for selling out-of-date food in Birmingham between 2016 and 2017 has once again surfaced the issues grocers in the United Kingdom face in their approach to stock management. Despite the more…
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The State of Food Waste In America

By Harun Asad   05/25/21  
Globally, we waste about 1.4 billion tons of food annually, and wasting food contributes to 11 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to this 2021 Guide. The United States discards more food than…
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Andrew Zimmern’s Latest Culinary Endeavor: Tackling Food Waste in America

By Stefanie Valentic   05/19/21  
Andrew Zimmern has traveled the world, observing the rich and varied traditions of tribal Africa to the modern Italian kitchen. In his journeys, he has experienced the exotic, the unknown and the desolate. The accomplished…
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To Stop Food Waste, We Need to Confront Our Food Anxiety

By Patrick Symmes   05/18/21  
Humans throw away about 1.3 billion tons of food a year, or—at the very least—one third of all food in the world. If you loaded that refuse into trucks, they’d wrap bumper-to-bumper around the world…
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USDA offering $2M to boost urban agriculture, reduce food waste

By Ben Nuelle   05/17/21  
The Department of Agriculture is aiming to improve urban food production by providing $2 million to local governments who host pilot projects focusing on composting and reducing food waste. The money is being made available…
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5 Ways the Government Can Tackle Food Waste in America

By Katherine Martinko   04/12/21  
Every year, anywhere between 30% and 40% of food produced for human consumption is wasted in the United States.1 Sometimes it fails to get harvested or it spoils during transport; other times it does not…
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UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021

The fact that substantial amounts of food are produced but not eaten by humans has substantial negative impacts: environmentally, socially and economically. Estimates suggest that 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food…
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AIB : Research reveals consumers wasting more food as a result of the pandemic

Research reveals consumers wasting more food as a result of the pandemic - AIB ● Dublin and Munster most concerned about food wastage ● AIB to further support FoodCloud in €1.5 million partnership for the next three years…
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Food waste: The underestimated factor in global warming

According to a draft of the IPCC special report, between 25 and 30 percent of all food produced is wasted or thrown away each year. Since 1970, this proportion is reported to have increased by…
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