UN: Almost a fifth of all food ends up in the bin

Nearly 931 million tonnes of food sold to households, retailers, restaurants and other food services was thrown away in 2019

Big Zero Report 2022

Nearly 17% of all food available to consumers globally was binned in 2019.

That’s according to the Food Waste Index Report 2021 report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which estimates approximately 931 million tonnes of food sold to households, retailers, restaurants and other food services was wasted in 2019.

The analysis suggests the weight roughly equals that of 23 million fully-loaded 40-tonne trucks, which if placed in a line, would circle the Earth seven times.

The report notes the majority of this waste comes from households, which discard 11% of the total food available at the consumption stage – food services and retail outlets waste 5% and 2% respectively.

A global citizen throws away around 121 kilograms of food on average every year, with 74 kilograms of this happening in households, the study suggests.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, said: “Reducing food waste would cut greenhouse gas emissions, slow the destruction of nature through land conversion and pollution, enhance the availability of food and thus reduce hunger and save money at a time of global recession.

“If we want to get serious about tackling climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, businesses, governments and citizens around the world have to do their part to reduce food waste,”

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