Prevention of wasted food

Reducing wasted food - The greenhouse gas connection

During Earth Week 2021, MPCA convened a roundtable conversation during Earth Week to examine the connection between preventing wasted food and its significant contribution to climate change.

These four organizations received MPCA grants for projects that aim to increase food rescue and waste prevention, a priority for the Walz Administration.  

Wasted food is responsible for at least 2.6% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — equivalent to more than 37 million cars, or one in seven cars on the road. Preventing and reducing wasted food represents a significant opportunity to mitigate climate change. 

Prevention of wasted food and food rescue

"Wasted food" is avoidable waste from edible and prepared food that was not eaten for reasons such as overproduction, spoiling, or poor quality after being prepared.

"Food waste" is unavoidable waste from food scraps that cannot normally be consumed, yet can still be “recycled” (composted), such as banana peels, egg shells, vegetable stalks, and animal bones.

A lot of impact

Economic impact: A family of 4 in Minnesota could save $1200 each year if they reduced their food waste.

Social impact: 1 in 12 households in Minnesota struggle with food insecurity (USDA, 2019).

Environmental impact: In Minnesota, food makes up 18% of landfills where it breaks down without oxygen and produces methane, a "greenhouse gas" with heat-trapping potential 25 times greater than carbon dioxide (U.S. EPA).