Waste Management

What is the (global) average amount of food wasted by each of us every year?


Please make a selection

Correct Answer
75 Kg

And here's something for you to take back

Globally each of us, on average, throws out 75 Kg of food every year.

There are significant variations among countries 

There could be significant variances in this. For India (and for Japan), this number is around 50 Kg per capita and for the US, it is double that for India - about 100 Kg per capita.

600 million tons of food wasted every year

For 8 billion people, at an average of 75 Kg per capita, the total wastage would be about 600 million tons of food wasted annually, worldwide.

21 g wasted for every 100 g of food we eat

We eat about 1 Kg of food per day. The total amount of food eaten by humans globally, per year, is about 2.7 billion tons, which works out to about 340 Kg per person per year, or about 1 Kg per person per day.

75 Kg of food wasted a year translates to about 210 g wasted per day per person, on average. So for every 1 Kg of food we eat, we throw out/waste about 210 g, or 21 g for every 100 g of food consumed (about 17% of food that is prepared is wasted)

3 billion tons of CO2 emissions from food waste

Global food production ecosystem contributes an amazing 17 billion tons of CO2 equivalent emissions per year. At 18% wastage, this would imply that about 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent emissions are from food that is wasted by us. That would be about 6% of the total  annual GHG emissions.

And there could be even more GHG emissions from methane

Food waste could result in additional greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane emissions, which is about 25 times as powerful a GHG as CO2. A ton of food waste, if it ends up in the landfill or buried in a local dump, could end up generating about 30 Kg. of methane (about 3% by weight). Even if 25% of the 600 million tons of food waste were to release methane, that would be about 18 million tons of methane, or about 110 million tons equivalent of CO2 emissions per year.

UK - a success story in food waste management

So what can be done to significantly cut down food waste? While there is a host of solutions being tried - from awareness creation to behavioural changes to community efforts to use of IT (check out our Food Waste Management decarbonization avenue section), it might be worthwhile to learn from a country that has done some excellent work in cutting down food waste across the nation - the UK.

The levels of food waste in the UK were 27% lower in 2018 than there were in 2007, and their target is to make this 50% lower by 2030. And they seem to be on their way to achieving it. How has this country achieved this impressive feat? This report provides some much needed insights.