Researchers have found that food waste has a big impact on the heat-trapping gasses we release into the environment.
Marty Heller is a senior research specialist with the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan.
In a new study, he and U of M's Greg Keoleian looked at the greenhouse gas emissions involved with the production of the food we eat and the food we waste.
“If we look at the greenhouse gas emissions associated with that food waste, it is equivalent to adding an additional 33 million average passenger vehicles to our roads every year,” Heller said.
Heller and Keoleian studied the emissions associated with about 100 different types of food. They discover that certain types of foods have the highest greenhouse gas emissions associated with their production.
"Typically we see a very distinct difference between foods that are animal based — meats, dairy —and foods that are plant based," Heller said.
"To a large extent that's because of the additional feed that is required to keep an animal alive and sort of their conversion efficiency of the feed that they consume."
He also found that some of those animals, cows in particular, emit a great deal of methane which is a very potent greenhouse gas emission.