Responsible Purchasing Network

Food Services: Handy Facts


  • Food service operations are among the most energy intensive in the commercial sector, accounting for 6 percent of all commercial energy consumption (DOE/EIA 2007).
  • The industrial agriculture system contributes between 17% and 32% of all human induced greenhouse gas emissions (Bellarby 2008).

  • Agricultural lands take up close to half the earth’s land surface at the cost of usable carbon sinks from natural vegetation (IPCC 2008).

  • According to the EPA, food leftovers are the single largest component of the waste stream by weight in the United States (EPA 2008a).

  • 4-10% of all purchased food ends up as preconsumer waste (LP 2008).

  • A small leak of 0.2 gallons per minute can waste 100,000 gallons of water and $1,640 a year in water, sewer and gas costs (ES 2006).

  • 70 percent of all antibiotics consumed in the US are used as additives in livestock feed (Harvie 2006).

  • Every year 1.7 to 2.2 million pounds of arsenic are given to chickens as a feed additive to promote growth (Wallinga 2006).

  • In the US, solid waste from domesticated animals and enteric fermentation from cows are responsible for roughly 200 million metric tons of CO2e (DOE/EIA 2007).

  • A common conventional food product travels an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches the plate (LCSA 2001).



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