Use the Food NC

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The Impact of Food Waste

Across the country more than one-third of food goes uneaten each year. When individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and local governments reduce food waste, they lower their environmental impact, save money, and feed their community.


Tons of food waste.

NC generated about 2.7 million tons of food waste in 2021.


Dollars in surplus food.

Food waste cost North Carolina about 12.7 billion dollars in 2019.


North Carolinians hungry.

1,245,870 people faced hunger in North Carolina in 2020, including 394,300 children.

Wasted food has environmental, financial and social impacts.

As food breaks down in landfills, it gives off methane, a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) that contributes to climate change. According to the EPA, each year wasted food in the  United States produces the same GHG emissions as 42 coal-fired power plants and uses enough water and energy to supply 50 million homes!  

Nationwide, consumers and the food industry lose $285 billion annually on food waste. Despite the amount of food available, there are many North Carolinians who are food insecure, meaning they do not have reliable, consistent access to food.  

Who We Are

The Recycling and Materials Management Section (RMMS) is within the non-regulatory Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service (DEACS) and helps promote a circular economy by providing technical assistance to recycling businesses and local governments, grant opportunities that expand recycling infrastructure and offer a variety of outreach programs.