Food Waste

Food waste or food loss is food that is discarded or lost uneaten. According to Dana Gunders (2012), “40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. That amount is more than 20 pounds of food per person every month and that is equivalent to Americans throwing of $165 billion each year” (p. 4).


The percentage of food consumed vs food loss calculated collectively for USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Source: NRDC Issue Paper


Recently, food loss or food waste which is a chronically overlooked issue is starting to get the attention it deserves from both the public and private sectors. Gunders (2012), in her report had listed several steps that can be taken by businesses, governments, and consumers to help remove the inefficiencies in the food system. She also listed the steps that can be taken in each stage of the supply chain – at the harvest, processing, in-store, beyond the store, food operators and consumers to help reduce food loss and food waste. The latest technique of reducing food waste is through the technology known as the anaerobic digestion.

Colorado is one of the state that currently using the anaerobic digestion technology. According to Luke Runyon (2016), “A new facility known as the Heartland Biogas Project is taking wasted food from Colorado’s most populous areas and turning it into electricity”. The facility is located on a rural road in northern Colorado, a short drive from the state’s populous, waste-generating urban core. There are six cream-colored tanks at the facility to store the food waste. “The six huge cream-colored holding tanks at Heartland – which can hold 1.7 million gallons of food waste and manure slurry – work like enormous stomachs” (Runyon, 2016). Anaerobic digestion is one promising method to solve the food waste problem, however, the digesters are expensive and require many policies fixed to get off the ground.

Solution to Food Waste: Anaerobic Digestion


Gunders, D. (2012). How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill. National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Issue Paper.

Runyon, L. (2016, April 05). How Colorado Is Turning Food Waste Into Electricity. Retrieved March 01, 2017, Retrieved from

AD and Bioresources. (n.d.). Retrieved from Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association: