Free Interactive Report
Responsible Consumption and Production in the US
By 2030, UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, aims to promote sustainable natural resource use, energy efficiency, responsible waste management, and a better quality of life for all. This includes addressing a wide range of challenges from food waste, trash and recycling, to managing toxic waste and landfills.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the goal to reduce food loss and waste by half by 2030, in alignment with SDG 12. Currently, between 30 and 40% of the US food supply is wasted every year while 35 million people are experiencing food insecurity and hunger.
Sustainable Consumption and Production is about doing more and better with less – the use of services and products that meet basic needs and improve quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials, as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants. The US has both a production and consumption problem when it comes to food, and also lacks the proper infrastructure to properly recycle many materials at scale. An average of 5 pounds of trash is created per person each day in the US (totaling 290 millions tons per year), 50% of which ends up in landfills. Food waste makes up the largest percentage (24%) of waste in landfills, followed by plastic (18%), and paper (12%).
Use the tool below to view waste and recycling related indicators nationally or by state, as well as an overview of the more than 5,700 nonprofits organizations that work on addressing related issues in the US. You can also discover 347 products and services in our Tech for Good Directory related to recycling, waste management, plastic pollution, food waste and other key areas of supply chain sustainability.
wasted in 2019
Interactive Report Notes:
* Waste refers to Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)—trash or garbage—the everyday items we use and then throw away, such as product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, paint, and batteries.
Interactive charts sources:
- Groceries Wasted: US Packaging and Wrapping & GC Insights Analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Department of Commerce Personal Expenditures by State 2019 and Economic Research Service U.S. Department Of Agriculture Food Loss Estimates.
- Hazardous Waste Sites: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund National Priority List 2021
- Plastic Bags State Legislation: National Conference of State Legislatures 2021.
- Waste Generation and Recycling 1960-2018: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Advancing Sustainable Materials Management 2018 Tables and Figures
- Nonprofit-related data: GC Insights analysis of over 600,000 forms 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service - IRS 2018-2021
- Private and Government Grants: GC Insights 2021
- USDA ERS – Food Security in the US
- ReFED – US Food Waste
- RTS – Food Waste Guide 2021
- EcoWatch – Material Waste
- EcoWatch – Recycling
- Forbes – Household Food Waste
- Bloomberg – US Garbage Flow
- NRDC – US Food Waste
- EPA – America’s Food Waste Problem
- Smithsonian – US Plastic Waste
- Vox – The lie of ‘expired’ food
- EPA – Waste Management National Overview
- WWF – Plastic Consumption
- National Geographic – Plastic Pollution
- EPA – Trash Free Waters
- UN – Sustainable Consumption and Production
- UN – SDG 12