Unconsumed food poses a potential economic burden to society. Recent estimates suggest that 300 million barrels of oil and 25 percent of total freshwater consumed by agriculture was used to produce food that was eventually discarded. University of Georgia agricultural and applied economists explored the effect of food retail density on overall levels of municipal waste. They found that with lower levels of access, food becomes more expensive, which leads to decreased food waste. On the other hand, poor food access may mean less frequent trips to the grocery store, but larger purchases. Under these conditions, food waste could increase if larger quantities of food are more difficult to manage. The researchers also found that a high density of restaurants lead to higher production of municipal solid waste, whereas areas with more stores that sell food for at-home consumption produce less municipal solid waste.
Contact: Craig Landry.
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