Food waste is a truly global issue. You might be surprised to know quite how much of the food we buy goes straight from the fridge to the bin. So much so, in fact, that the UK collectively threw away 4.9 billion kilograms of food in 2017.
That being said, we certainly aren’t unique. According to the Food Sustainability Index 2017, many countries of the world are wasting millions of tons of food each year due to stockpiling, spoilage and in some cases, downright fussiness.
But thankfully, people across the planet are kicking into action in a bid to make our use and consumption of food smarter, more sustainable and kinder to the environment. From charities to major organizations, governments to citizens, innovative ideas are changing our relationship with food. And as a result of new initiatives, technology and changes to the law, many corners of the world are beginning to see their food waste haul shrink.
Food Waste Around the World: The Winners and Losers
Each year, the Food Sustainability Index publishes data on how the nations of the world fare when it comes to throwing away food. For many of the planet’s most populated countries, it takes an informed estimate of the amount each citizen is leaving uneaten – and the variation is stark.
Those in Greece are the most resourceful, closely followed by China. The latter might throw away 61 billion kilograms of food, but spread across its huge population this accounts for just 44kg per citizen; low by international standards. Other countries to rank well include India, Brazil, and the United Kingdom, where its residents waste an average of 74.7kg of food per head.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Sweden wastes a surprising 200kg per person each year. A little behind them, the United States throws away 91 billion kilograms of food annually – more than twice the amount in the UK, France, Germany, and Japan combined. Per head though, they’re far from worst. Australia throws away a colossal 361kg per person each year – that’s more than eight times the amount thrown away by your average Greek.
Thankfully, no matter what position these countries fall in, there’s evidence of a shift in attitude; with exciting new concepts seeking to end food waste right across the globe. You can read about some of these, as well as view the full ranking of countries, below.