222 million tons — according to a 2011 UN study, that’s how much food consumers and retailers in industrialized nations waste every year, mostly by throwing away perfectly edible food. Just to put that number in perspective: it’s almost equivalent to the net food production in sub-Saharan Africa, and area about two and a half times the size of the United States.
If you’re the average North American or European consumer, you throw away between 210 and 250 pounds of food each year (if you want to picture that better, 250 pounds is the weight of 1000 Quarter Pounder™ meat patties before they’re cooked — or the weight of over 1300 cooked patties). If you’re the average North American or European consumer, you can do better.
Our neighbors in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia waste less than 10% as much as we do, throwing away an average of 13 to 24 pounds of food a year. That seems like a good target. And helping people reach that target is what this blog, and the 222 Million Ton project, are all about.
In this blog, we will share tips and tools that can help people adopt more sustainable practices, and hopefully spark conversations that will lead us in directions that we haven’t anticipated, and that our team and our readers can learn from.