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Abstract

This study analyzes the climate change and economic impacts of food waste in the United States. Using loss-adjusted national food availability data for 134 food commodities, it calculates the greenhouse gas emissions due to wasted food using life cycle assessment and the economic cost of the waste using retail prices. The analysis shows that avoidable food waste in the US exceeds 55 million metric tonnes per year, nearly 29% of annual production. This waste produces life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of at least 113 million metric tonnes of CO2e annually, equivalent to 2% of national emissions, and costs $198 billion.

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