Roughly 20 percent of all meat sold in the U.S. winds up in the trash. That makes the pesticides, fertilizer, fuel and water used to produce and process it, as well as the resulting greenhouse gases and environmental damage, unnecessary and preventable.
EWG’s analysis found that discarded food accounts for more than 20 percent of the emissions associated with producing, processing, transporting and consuming meat and dairy products. The impact is compounded in landfills as the discarded food breaks down and generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Most of the emissions attributed to waste come from producing food that is ultimately discarded – from fertilizer and pesticide production, growing feed, methane emissions, etc. Reducing waste and buying only as much as you can eat is therefore the easiest way to reduce greenhouse gas and other environmental impacts of food.
Producing and processing the meat and dairy products that get thrown away requires large amounts of environmentally destructive and energy-intensive pesticides, fertilizer, fuel and water. That makes their use and the resulting greenhouse gases and environmental damage from these inputs, entirely unnecessary – and avoidable.