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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
Every living creature depends on healthy and abundant fresh water for survival. But each year, more than 66 trillion gallons of water go toward producing food that’s lost or wasted. We can change this by producing and eating only the food we need.
Raising livestock requires a lot of land and water in many of the most sensitive ecosystems around the world—from the Northern Great Plains of the United States to the savannahs of southern Africa. Yet about 20% of these products are wasted, which means we’re wasting one-fifth of the land and water used to produce them.
Fruits and vegetables are great sources of nutrition, yet they’re also among the most wasted foods. About 45% of all fruits, vegetables, roots, and tubers are wasted, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That’s the equivalent of 3.7 trillion apples and 1 billion bags of potatoes.
By building an efficient food system that reduces waste, we can help save the land, water, and energy upon which people and wildlife depend. The total area of land used to produce food that was lost or wasted on farms globally equates to nearly 1.7 million square miles—an area larger than the Indian subcontinent. This impacts the natural habitat of many wild animals, the freshwater we share with them, and the global climate.
Around the world, people are facing more extreme weather linked to climate change and food waste is a significant contributor to this threat. Food sent to landfills produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that impacts our climate. Each year, wasted food emits more than 3.3 billion tons of these gases.
A smooth and functional supply chain that brings food from farms to our tables is necessary to feed the world. Yet, right now, we lose and waste food at every link in this chain. In the US, around 28% of waste happens in consumer-facing businesses like grocery stores and restaurants, while a whopping 37% of waste happens in our homes.
Food brings family and friends together in all parts of the globe. We need to think about our food choices in restaurants and grocery stores and at home to ensure these gatherings are also good for the environment.