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A framework to quantify mass flow and assess food loss and waste in the US food supply chain...

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Communications Earth & Environment
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Reducing food loss and waste can improve the efficiency of food supply chains and provide food security. Here we estimate mass flow as well as food loss and waste along the US food supply chain for 10 commodity groups and nine management pathways to provide a baseline for designing efficient strategies to reduce, recycle, and recover food loss and waste. We estimate a total food loss and waste of 335.4 million metric tonnes from the U.S. food supply chain in 2016. Water evaporation (19%), recycling (55%), and landfill, incineration, or wastewater treatment (23%) accounted for most of the loss and waste. The consumption stage accounted for 57% of the food loss and waste disposed of through landfill, incineration, or wastewater treatment. Manufacturing was the largest contributor to food loss and waste (61%) but had a high recycling rate. High demand, perishable products accounted for 67% of food waste. We suggest that funding for infrastructure and incentives for earlier food donation can promote efficiency and sustainability of the supply chain, promote FLW collection and recycling along the U.S. FSC, and improve consumer education in order to move towards a circular economy.