Bay Area tech companies are known for their perks, especially their free food. That means tons — literally — of uneaten food going wasted every week.
Food waste isn't just Silicon Valley's problem, either. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization determined that the world has 870 million hungry people. They could benefit from wasted food, which amounts to $940 billion globally every year.
According to a new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of the 430 billion pounds of available food supply in the U.S. went uneaten in 2010. The estimated value of the food loss was $161.6 billion and equates to 141 trillion calories wasted, or 1,249 calories wasted per person, per day.
Last year the U.S. government issued a food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50 percent cut by 2030. "Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would provide enough food for more than 25 million Americans every year, helping to sharply reduce incidences of food insecurity for millions," the USDA said.
This goal is easier said than done, when Americans waste up to 50 percent more food than U.S. consumers did in the 1970s, according to the National Institutes of Health. Most humans are prone to dispose of leftovers without thinking twice, so it's taken years for activists to bring this issue to the table for discussion.