Jan 2, 2024 - News

Michigan wasted 2.8 million tons of food in 2022

Estimated Michigan food surplus, by sector
Data: ReFED; Note: Manufacturing and food service surplus estimated at the state level from national data; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Consumers and businesses in Michigan produced 2.8 million tons of surplus food in 2022, just as much as in 2016, per data from the nonprofit ReFED.

Why it matters: Wasting food also wastes the resources that went into producing it, with ripple effects on climate resources and the economy.

  • Food waste makes up 24% of municipal landfill input and contributes to 6.1% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
  • On average, a person wastes $759 on uneaten food each year.

By the numbers: Across the country, people and businesses wasted 88.7 million tons of food.

  • That's equivalent to nearly 145 billion meals worth $473 billion.
  • In Michigan, residential waste made up 1.3 million tons, or 47%, of the total.

Be smart: Food surplus refers to food uneaten or unsold by people and businesses.

Of note: Though our state's food surplus figure hasn't substantially budged over the last six years, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's MI Healthy Climate Plan includes a goal to cut food waste in half by 2030.

The big picture: As you mull over your resolutions for the new year, keep in mind ReFED's list of "Food Waste Five" strategies for reducing waste at home:

  • Store food properly.
  • Freeze food to extend its freshness — many of us mean to do this but fail to follow through.
  • Check "best by" and "sell by" labels.
  • Dedicate a day each week for eating leftovers.
  • Plan your meals before buying groceries, and follow those plans once they're set.
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