Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

Reduce Food Waste

Love Food. Stop Waste

40% of food in the United States goes uneaten.

A lot of that waste happens in our own homes. We throw away leftovers or forget about food in the back of the fridge. That wasted food has big impacts on our environment, our community, and our wallets. But there’s good news! You can make a difference by making small changes at home. Love your food, don’t waste it.

What you can do

You can reduce your food waste at home in lots of ways. Try our tips to help you waste less food (pdf) to see what works for you. Click below for tools and information.

Why wasting food matters

When we waste food, we also waste all the money and resources it takes to get food from the farm to our homes. That waste hurts our climate and the health of our communities.

Wasting Food...

  • Wastes Money
    We throw away $160 billion worth of food a year in the U.S. By reducing food waste, a family of four could save as much as $1500 a year!
  • Wastes Water
    We waste more than 20% of all the freshwater used in the U.S. to grow food that is never eaten. When we waste water on food we don’t eat, we’re taking it from communities that really need it.
  • Wastes Land
    If all the wasted food in the world was grown on one farm, that farm would be larger than Canada. The increased demand for food we don’t even eat leads to more clearing of rain forests and grasslands, increasing climate change and hurting our ecosystems.
  • Wastes Energy
    We use about 5% of all U.S. energy to grow food that is wasted. Wasting energy is a waste of our limited resources, and it also adds to pollution and climate change.
  • Contributes to Climate Change
    Wasted food is responsible for more than 8% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. If wasted food were its own country, it would cause more greenhouse gas emissions than any other country except for China and the U.S.
  • Causes Water Pollution
    In the U.S., agriculture is the main source of pollution in rivers and streams, and one of the top three sources of pollution in lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and wetlands. When we waste food, we’re making water unhealthy for people and wildlife.
  • Increases Food Prices
    1 in 8 households in the U.S. don’t have enough to eat. We increase the demand for food when we buy more than we need, causing food prices to go up. Low-income families are the hardest hit by rising food prices.

Download our Fact Sheet (pdf)for source information.

Additional resources