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The amount of food wasted varies from city to city, and with only nine of the top 25 most populated cities mandating food waste legislation, there is a lot of room for improvement. The good news: We do have cities leading the effort to reduce food waste across the country.



Every year the average person in North America may waste around 231 pounds of food, which if converted to energy, could power a 100 watt light bulb for two weeks. If you extrapolate that for the entire U.S. population, it represents a lot of energy that could be saved right there.

A country with a population of 319 million could waste as much as 74 billion pounds of food a year, which if saved could result in tremendous energy savings that could be put to much better use. But to reduce food waste, these savings need to be implemented from the bottom up rather than the top down, starting in individual homes and businesses in towns, cities, and states across the country. If each and every household and business made a concerted effort to reduce food waste, the collective savings regarding energy would be huge.



As we can see from the graphic above, reducing the amount of food we send to the landfill can result in both water and energy savings, or it can be recycled to produce energy that can be put to better use elsewhere.

By substantially cutting back on the food waste we generate, we could not only reduce world hunger but also reduce demands on resources such as energy and water.


“A method of recycling organic waste is through anaerobic digestion, which produces biogas – a natural source of energy.”

Food waste is placed in a digestion tank, where it is broken down by microorganisms in an oxygen-free environment. The microorganisms release methane gas during the decomposition process and also leave a solid waste sludge that is rich in nutrients. The methane (biogas) is collected and burned to produce energy, while the nutrient-rich sludge (biosolids) can be used as organic compost to fertilize crops. For consumers, food waste can be collected and delivered by truck or through sink-disposal pipes to a municipal water resources recovery facility (WRRF) equipped with an anaerobic digester.

To reduce the amount of food waste we send to the landfill each year, we as consumers must make a concerted effort to prevent wastage in the first place. When waste can’t be avoided, we need to recycle food waste into products or energy sources – such as compost, animal feed, or biogas – that benefit society.

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Helen Tse
Helen Tse
Jul 09, 2021


Unknown member
Jul 09, 2021


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