Food waste increasing in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania tossed out 2.89 million tons of surplus food in 2022 — the bulk of which came from residential households, per data from the nonprofit ReFED.
Why it matters: Food waste makes up nearly a quarter of municipal landfill input and contributes to 6.1% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
- It also takes a bite out of our wallets. A person wastes $759 on uneaten food each year, on average.
Driving the news: Uneaten and unsold food ticked up 3.6% in the Keystone State between 2016 and 2022, per ReFED.
- Residential waste accounted for approximately 57% of the state's uneaten or unsold food in 2022, followed by the food service industry (nearly 16%) and manufacturing (13%).
The big picture: Across the country, people and businesses let 88.7 million tons of food go uneaten or unsold that year.
- That's equivalent to nearly 145 billion meals worth $473 billion.
Zoom in: The largest share of Pennsylvania's food waste went to landfills — nearly a third — followed by composting and incineration.
- They both offer services that connect grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses with organizations to distribute their unused food — Share Food Program's Philly Food Rescue initiative and Philabundance's program.
What they're saying: Britt Korn, coordinator for Share Food Program initiative, tells Axios that further cutting down on food waste in Philly could help reduce the city's high level of food insecurity.
- "It's all about keeping good food within neighborhoods and keeping good food out of the trash," she said.
What you can do:
- Store food properly.
- Freeze food to extend its freshness.
- Dedicate a day each week for eating leftovers.
- Understand the meaning behind date "best by" labels.
- Plan your meals before buying groceries.
Methodology: Food surplus refers to food uneaten or unsold by people and businesses.
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