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Grocery store waste statistics : How to create Environmental Change

Statistics on Grocery Store Waste

Garbage disposal is a significant problem at grocery stores in the United States, with over 30% of food wasted, posing both environmental and economic challenges. 

This waste results in a major financial loss for grocery stores, costing an estimated $18.2 billion each year. Discarded food items make up the majority of grocery store trash.

Globally, almost one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted, and grocery stores play a big role in this ratio.

Statistics on Grocery Store Waste  

Grocery retailers in the United States waste approximately 30% of their food.

Retail establishments in the United States create over 16 billion pounds of food waste each year.

Food waste is expected to cost grocery businesses $18.2 billion per year.

Food waste in the retail sector is worth about twice as much as the profit produced from food sales.

Retail food waste accounts for 40% of overall food waste and comprises grocery shops, restaurants, and food service firms.

Every week, the average American supermarket wastes $5,000–$10,000 in food.

(32.3%), waste collected from dairy and eggs (13.9%), and fresh meat and seafood (13.5%).

Retailers generated 5.12 million metric tons of extra food in 2021, about 35% of which was disposed of in landfills or cremated as garbage.

67.7% of prepared foods are wasted due to overproduction or overordering.

In the United States, conventional supermarkets’ market share has fallen from 69.7% in 2017 to 66.2% in 2022.

Statistics on Grocery Store Waste

How do you cut down on grocery store waste?

These statistics are depressing, but supermarkets have numerous possibilities to reduce grocery store waste.

1. Avoid Overstocking Shelves

Supermarkets have long felt that shoppers are more inclined to purchase from a crowded shelf or an overflowing vegetable display. However, when Stop and Shop experimented with removing overstocked displays, sales increased, and customers expressed higher levels of satisfaction with their shopping experience.

2. Promote “Ugly” Produce Specials

Brands such as Walmart and the French store Intermarché have seen tremendous success by offering lower pricing on misfit fruits and vegetables that are typically discarded.

3. Invest in Smart Technology

With a store’s actual structure and storage capacity in mind, modern inventory management software makes it easier to estimate future food shipments. This reduces excess inventory and the likelihood that perishable commodities will spoil before they are purchased.

4. Collaborate with Food Donation Experts

Supermarkets don’t have to deal with the practicalities of keeping good food out of landfills on their own, thanks to established nonprofits like Feeding America and up-and-coming applications like FlashFood. Grocery store food contributions have previously been worked out by organisations around the country.

Dumpster Help in the Waste Management of Grocery Store Trash 

Dumpsters can help reduce grocery store waste. Here is how it is possible:.

Waste Stream Separation:

Dumpsters can be used to establish a waste separation system in grocery stores. Various trash streams, such as organic garbage, cardboard or paper, plastics, and non-recyclable materials, might be assigned to different dumpsters.

Stores can facilitate recycling and proper disposal by sorting waste at the source, minimising the overall amount of waste going to landfills.

Compostable organic waste:

Organic waste, such as outdated produce and other food items, accounts for a major amount of grocery store waste.

Grocery stores can partner with composting facilities to convert organic waste into valuable compost, diverting it from landfills and helping soil enrichment by providing a designated skip for organic trash.

Packaging Material Recycling Dumpster:

Packaging materials such as cardboard, plastic, and glass account for a significant portion of grocery store waste.

Having separate dumpsters for recyclable goods encourages proper disposal and recycling, reducing the environmental impact of packaging waste.

Dumpster Donation for Edible Food:

Grocery businesses can set aside a dumpster for edible but unsold food items.

This dumpster could be used as part of a food donation programme in which local charities or food banks collect food for distribution to those in need, thereby saving good food from going to waste.

Audits and monitoring of waste:

Dumpsters can be utilised in trash auditing projects. Regular monitoring and analysis of trash contents aid in identifying areas for improvement and measuring the efficacy of waste reduction efforts.

Grocery retailers can further optimise their waste management practices by identifying the composition of their garbage.

Signage for Education:

Dumpsters can be clearly labelled to educate store employees and consumers on good garbage disposal practices.

Providing instructions on what products to put in each dumpster promotes proper waste disposal and helps to achieve overall waste reduction goals.

Waste collection and disposal

Waste collection schedules that are consistent and efficient help to prevent overflows and guarantee that waste is addressed in a timely way.

Proper garbage disposal eliminates the possibility of illegal dumping or mishandling, resulting in a cleaner and more ecologically friendly store environment.


How does the supermarket handle organic waste?

Our grocery shop has an organic garbage skip that is collected separately and delivered to a composting facility. This aids in the conversion of organic waste into beneficial compost, minimizing our environmental impact.

What happens to outdated or unsold food items at the supermarket?

Edible but unsaleable food is sorted and disposed of in a designated dumpster. These items are often picked up by local charities or food banks through our food donation programme to support people in need.

How does the supermarket handle packing materials such as cardboard and plastic?

We have recycling bins designed exclusively for packing materials. Separate collections of cardboard, plastic, and other recyclables are made and recycled in order to reduce the amount of waste transported to landfills.

Is it encouraged for customers to help with garbage management?

Without a doubt! To advise consumers on proper garbage disposal, we present prominent signage throughout the store and near dumpsters. We encourage everyone to recycle in designated bins and to dispose of trash correctly.


I discuss the increase in litter from our grocery store. 30% of waste is generated from our grocery store. To avoid this trash, we need to check all possible ways that cause an increase in trash, from cardboard to tin cans and expired foods. To avoid this, we need to make some changes in our grocery store systems. I also used a dumpster for better waste management.