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Economic and Environmental Costs of Agricultural Food Losses and Waste in the US

Jadwiga R. Ziolkowska
Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, United States
Abstract—According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately 30% of agricultural production (1.6 billion tons of food) is lost every single year [1]. Food wastage is linked to economic and environmental losses occurring in the production chain from the farm to the table. While many studies address the problem of food waste by analyzing consumption patterns, little research has been done on the economics of food waste and sustainability of agricultural production related to agricultural and food losses and waste. This paper seeks to address this question by monetizing resource losses (e.g. energy, water, agricultural land), environmental impacts (i.e. methane emissions), and by contributing to the discussion on biodiversity loss in the food production process in the US. The presented analysis and results can help raise awareness and incentivize households and governments to design and implement cost-effective measures for food waste reduction.
 
Index Terms—food waste, food loss, agriculture, economics, environment

Cite: Jadwiga R. Ziolkowska, "Economic and Environmental Costs of Agricultural Food Losses and Waste in the US," International Journal of Food Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 140-145, December 2017. doi: 10.18178/ijfe.3.2.140-145
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