Frequent Questions

What product is taking up the most space in US landfills?

Food waste is the most common material found in U.S. landfills. It is the single largest component of the municipal waste we discard, accounting for more than 20 percent of the material arriving at landfills and incinerators. We currently recycle less than 3% of food waste.

By reducing how much food we waste, we can mitigate the environmental and economic consequences of this waste. When food ends up in a landfill, it rots and produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Furthermore, when we waste food, we also waste the energy used to grow, produce and transport that food. In addition to these environmental consequences, wasting food also wastes money. Individuals, families and businesses can all save money by reducing how much food they waste.

To learn how you can reduce food waste by generating less of it, donating excess food and composting, visit www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home. Businesses and other large organizations can learn how to sustainably managed food waste by joining EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Food Recovery Challenge: www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-challenge-frc.

Have more questions? Submit a request