Most Wasteful Countries Or Edible Garbage

Leticia Celentano Author: Leticia Celentano Time for reading: ~6 minutes Last Updated: December 03, 2022
Most Wasteful Countries Or Edible Garbage

According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), developed countries throw away up to 40% of food. This is not only unacceptable from a moral point of view, but also simply unreasonable. Such food waste costs countries billions of dollars, and is also the world's third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which affect climate change and

According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), developed countries throw away up to 40% of food .

Overproduction of food products and their easy availability in developed countries is the main cause of this problem. People become spendthrifts. Manufacturers increase production volumes, shelves in stores are completely filled, which pushes the buyer to buy more than he can eat.


The entire world throws away products worth a total of $400 billion every year. Such statistics are provided by researchers at Harvard University. At the same time, most of the "third world" countries still suffer from food shortages. About 800 million people suffer from malnutrition, and this is every ninth inhabitant of the planet.

Inefficient use of food is a very serious problem. Every year in developed countries, 222 million tons of food are sent to the landfill - almost as much as is produced in sub-Saharan Africa.

This is not only unacceptable from a moral point of view, but also simply unreasonable. Such food waste costs countries billions of dollars, and is also the world's third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which affect climate change and cause irreparable damage to the environment. 


Who and what throws away


Up to 500,000 tons of products are thrown away every year . Mainly because it's expiring. Some supermarkets donate products to charities when they reach the end of their shelf life. However, most of it still ends up in the landfill, which is the cheapest and easiest option.


Almost 1/3 of the food we buy is thrown away because we tend to buy more than we can eat when we don't plan our menu. Most of the products are thrown away for the same reason - expiration date. In addition, the majority of modern people do not eat the entire portion placed on the plate. Semi-finished products that are not completely eaten are often thrown away because their packaging has been opened. In addition, the amount of natural food waste has decreased significantly, and it has been replaced by various semi-finished products, which makes food waste as dangerous as synthetic food waste.


30-40 % of all grown products are thrown away . Various companies and manufacturers often require flawless specially determined shapes, sizes and colors of products . For this reason, a crop that does not fit the parameters cannot always find demand.


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The most wasteful countries

According to British parliamentarians, about 90 million tons of food are thrown away every year in the European Union. Great Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Poland are the leaders in the amount of food waste among the countries of the European Union.

Great Britain

The total cost of food waste per year reaches £12 billion, which is about 15 million tons of food . On average, this is £50 per family per month. Almost half of the discarded food is expired. Although, if you plan your menu correctly, this food could be eaten on time.


According to recent data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), more than 18 million tons of food are thrown into landfills in Germany every year . If we transfer this amount of food waste to agricultural areas, it turns out that more than 2.6 million hectares of land is cultivated "for garbage".

Most of all - almost 2 million tons - of grain products , in particular, bread and pastries, as well as fruits and vegetables - 1.5 million tons each. Also, according to statistics, more than 1 million tons of potatoes and dairy products end up in landfills every year .

However, about 60% of food waste is generated at the stage of movement of products from the manufacturer to the store or restaurant. And only 40% of food is thrown away by the end consumer.

If you don't get lazy and make an interesting calculation. It turns out that, in general, Germany throws away 313 kg of products every second.



According to the government's estimate, each French person throws away 20-30 kg of food every year, which costs the national economy €20 billion a year. Losses of dairy products alone amount to 4 thousand tons every year. For some reason, the French government has set itself the goal of halving the amount of food waste by 2025 .

The first step in this direction was the reform for large retail chains, which are prohibited from throwing away unsold food products that are still fit for consumption. Large supermarkets, the area of ​​which is at least 400 square meters before the beginning of July 2016, must conclude contracts with charitable organizations to give them such products for the needs of the needy, or to send them for processing (for example, as animal feed or biofuel). In case of non-fulfillment of these conditions, supermarkets face a fine of €75,000, and their managers face imprisonment of up to 2 years.


In principle, the Dutch are a very frugal people. Most Dutch families are used to planning their budget, they clearly know what their salaries will be spent on.

But the Dutch love to eat. And they know their food. This is, in principle, one of the few things on which they do not skimp. They have quite a large number of cafes and restaurants for every taste and wallet. In the evening, many families go to have dinner in cafes and restaurants.

In rural areas, they eat mostly at home, but it is plentiful and hearty. But leftovers from dinner are always thrown into the trash. The Dutch are not used to leaving food for tomorrow. And this is only consumer waste, not counting unsold products thrown away by farmers.

This habit of theirs leads to the fact that the amount of food waste is 40-50 kg of food per person per year. Which, as in other countries mentioned in this article, costs the state billions of euros.



9 million tons of food waste is generated in Poland every year . A quarter of the surveyed population admitted that they throw away food very often. According to the experts of the Polish Federation of Food Banks, popular perishable products most often end up in the trash : bread — 58%, potatoes and sausage — 37% each, vegetables — 19%, fruits — 18%.

Among the most common answers of respondents to the question of why people throw away food : because the expiration date has expired - 39%, they have prepared too many dishes - 34%, they have bought too much - 22%.


Outside the European Union, the United States of America is the most wasteful.


According to the WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Program) report, 60 million tons of food in the United States become food waste worth about $162 billion every year. The average American throws away 10 times more food than a resident of Southeast Asia, and 50 times more, than a US resident in the 1970s. Experts concluded that reducing food waste by at least 15% would allow feeding 25 million people every year. 

World hunger and the ecological situation are two of the biggest and most important problems of all mankind. Reducing food waste and loss is the way to address both.

The most effective strategies for combating waste in developed countries include improving communication between producers and traders, to avoid overproduction, and improving the product labeling system . And, also, sufficient informing of producers and consumers about the economic and ecological consequences of food waste , and about ways to reduce it.

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