Gleaning America's Fields ~ Feeding America's Hungry




Pounds of food

wasted in the U.S.

since the beginning of 2014




Up to 40% of Our Food is Wasted

Getting food to our tables eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten."

Synopsis (2012)

Full Issue Paper (2012)


Your Scraps Add Up: Reducing food waste
can save money and resources
An approach to responsible food usage in your life, from the National Resources Defense Council

Food Facts Paper (2011)


USDA Food Loss Study

In 1997, the USDA studied food losses after harvest. This investigation remains the most thorough government study on the subject.

Food Loss Study


Exploratory Research

RTI International published this report on their exploratory research about food losses at the consumer level of America's food system.

Research Report



Food Waste in America

New Study from the USDA:  (Released in February 2014)


The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States


"In the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. For the first time, ERS estimated the calories associated with food loss: 141 trillion in 2010, or 1,249 calories per capita per day."


Report Summary PDF

Full Report PDF


A 2004 study showed that forty to fifty per cent of all food ready for harvest in the United States never gets eaten.

Timothy Jones, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, spent 10 years measuring food loss at all levels of food production and consumption. He discovered not only that about half of the food produced in America was discarded, but also that much of it could feed people who need it. On top of that, the rate of food loss, even partially corrected, could save U.S. consumers and manufacturers tens of billions of dollars each year.


Environmental Impact of U.S. Food Waste

The United States spends about 1 billion dollars a year just to dispose of food waste.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food leftovers are the single-largest component of the waste stream by weight in the United States. Food waste includes uneaten food and food preparation scraps from residences or households, commercial establishments like restaurants, institutional sources like school cafeterias, and industrial sources like factory lunchrooms. Over 12 percent of the total municipal solid waste generated in American households was food scraps and less than three percent was recovered. The rest was thrown away and disposed in landfills or combusted in incinerators.


The environmental impact of food disposal is significant. The decomposition of food and other organic waste in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. Landfills are the largest human-related source of methane in the United States, accounting for 34 percent of all methane emissions.


SoSA Programs

Our ministry prevents more than 30 million pounds of food going to waste each year.

Society of St. Andrew food salvage programs have a positive impact on the environment by reducing landfill waste by as much as 30 million pounds a year. Instead of harming the environment, this food instead feeds hungry Americans.



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