5 Things You Can Do About Food Waste


Every year roughly 2.9 trillion pounds of food—about a third of all the food available on Earth—never gets eaten. Here are some simple things you can do to start making a difference. (Nat Geo The Plate blog)

One man’s compost can be another man’s lunch—learn how.

Educators, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

food waste
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Discussion Ideas

  • What is food waste? Take a look at the great “Lost En Route” interactive from National Geographic magazine for some help.
    • Food waste is simply edible food that is not eaten. “Lost En Route” breaks down food waste into food loss (food lost during production and processing) and food waste (food discarded by retail markets and consumers).
      • agriculture. Farmers and agribusinesses regularly discard food that is misshapen, unusually colored, or too small to sell.
      • postharvest. Poor storage facilities allow edible food to rot before it can be eaten or transported to market.
      • processing. Food lost in processing includes bread trimmed to make a no-crust sandwich or broccoli stems discarded as florets are used in salads.
      • distribution. Poor infrastructure (including roads and vehicles) may limit the efficient distribution of food.
      • consumption. Consumers regularly throw out food from “forgotten carry-out containers at the back of cluttered refrigerators, and on counters and in cabinets when schedules get in the way of ambitious cooking plans.”



  • What are some other ways you can reduce food waste?
    • At a Grocery Store:
      • Shop at discount stores that offer misshapen food at a discount.
      • Buy frozen foods, which suffer fewer losses from farm to shelf.
      • Shop at the grocery store more often, and buy food at farmers markets—buying less food more often reduces the chance of food spoilage.
    • At a Restaurant:
      • Ask the waiter to hold extras such as breadsticks or chips and salsa if you’re not planning on eating them.
      • Encourage restaurants to donate leftovers.
    • In Your Community:

food waste usda


Nat Geo: 5 Things You Can Do About Food Waste

Nat Geo: One Man’s Compost is is This Man’s Lunch

Nat Geo: Here’s How to Solve World Hunger

Nat Geo: Teaching the Geography of Food

USDA: FoodKeeper App

USDA: Leftovers and Food Safety

USDA: U.S. Food Waste Challenge

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