Waste not, want not: reducing food loss and waste in North America through life cycle-based approaches

Food loss and waste is a major challenge globally, and in North America, an estimated 30 to 40 per cent of the food available for human consumption is lost or wasted. Achieving both global and national food loss and waste reduction goals will require a broad-based effort across the supply chain, from farm to fork and beyond. Fortunately, there is growing national, regional and international impetus to address food loss and waste, and food waste-related policies and programmes across North America are gaining momentum. This report examines ways in which life cycle thinking and related tools such as life cycle assessment can be used to inform effective policymaking, aimed at reducing food loss and waste. It describes how these methodologies can help decision makers prioritize policies and interventions through better estimates of the environmental impact of food loss and misuse, comparisons of food waste disposal options, and evaluations of alternative intervention or abatement strategies. Case studies presented in the report highlight examples of how life cycle thinking is already being used successfully to reduce food loss and waste in North America.