Date of Award

Fall 12-19-2017

Degree Type


Faculty Advisor

Aaron Martin


One-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. In North America and Europe, 280-300 kg of food is wasted per capita each year, with more than 40% of the losses occurring at the retail and consumer level. In this paper, I compare the amount of food wasted in the United States to the amounts wasted by different societies around the world, and discuss the reasons for the food waste, and the consequences that the waste has on our society, in terms of resource consumption and production of pollution. The pragmatic philosophy of Richard Rorty states that we should value ideas, opportunities, creations, and the human imagination. When people choose to waste food, it damages our environment and resources, and the future stability of our society. I argue that we need to change our behaviors to waste less food, in order to benefit all people. Finally, I discuss practices that society could change or adopt to influence the behaviors of consumers, change food production and retail practices, and to recover value from wasted food.