Good to the very last bite.
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About a third of all food grown never gets eaten, which is quite startling when you consider that, every year, over 700 million people globally face hunger.
At first you might think, how bad can food waste be? Doesn’t it just decompose? But producing, packaging and transporting food uses land, water, and energy, releasing carbon every step of the way. Not to mention the powerful gases it emits if it ends up in a landfill.
In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, after the US and China. Nearly one-quarter of emissions related to food come from food that is never eaten.
Cut down on food waste in your own home by making sure you only buy what you need, eat the food you have and compost anything left. You’ll save money, effort, and reduce carbon pollution.
15 quick tips for reducing food waste and becoming a food hero
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
An estimated 720-811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021
Food Labels - Best before, use by and sell by dates explained
European Food Information Council (EUFIC)
If food wastage were a country, it would be the third largest emitting country in the world.
Food Waste Footprint & Climate Change, FAO
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas with a 100-year global warming potential 28 times that of CO2.
IPCC Fifth Assessment Report 100-year reference case
Roughly one-third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption, gets lost or wasted globally, which is about 1.3 billion ton per year
Global Food Losses and Food Waste, FAO
Nearly one-quarter of emissions related to food come from food that is never eaten.
Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers, Poore and Nemecek (2018)
In high-income countries, food waste makes up 32 percent of total waste. Globally, most waste is currently dumped or disposed of in some form of a landfill. Some 37 percent of waste is disposed of in some form of a landfill.
Impact metric calculations
To determine the carbon emission reduction estimates related to cutting food waste through upstream food reduction (through buying less, loving leftovers, etc.) and composting, the following calculations were performed:
Upstream Food Reduction Efforts: (# of people in household) x (country-specific kg food waste/person) x (committed percentage of food waste reduced) x (1.7 kg CO2e/kg food) = kg CO2e / household / month
Composting: (# of people in household) x (country-specific kg food waste/person) x (country-specific average percentage of food waste likely diverted to landfill) x (percentage of food waste not reduced) x [(0.56 kg CO2e/kg landfilled food waste) - (0.16 kg CO2e/kg composted food waste) = kg CO2e / household / month
Total: Upstream Food Reduction Efforts + Composting = kg CO2e / household / month
For detailed calculations, references and assumptions, please see our Methodology.