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Arizona
1
North Dakota
2
Hawaii
3
Nevada
4
Oklahoma
5
West Virginia
6
Wisconsin
7
Georgia
8
Montana
9
South Dakota
10
South Carolina
11
Wyoming
12
Mississippi
13
North Carolina
14
Kentucky
15
New Hampshire
16
Missouri
17
New Mexico
18
Delaware
19
Tennessee
20
Alaska
21
New Jersey
22
Utah
23
Virginia
24
Florida
25
Maryland
26
Colorado
27
Alabama
28
Michigan
29
Nebraska
30
Indiana
31
Rhode Island
32
Minnesota
33
Texas
34
Arkansas
35
Kansas
36
Pennsylvania
37
Ohio
38
Idaho
39
Maine
40
Illinois
41
California
42
New York
43
Iowa
44
Washington
45
Louisiana
46
Vermont
47
Oregon
48
Connecticut
49
Massachusetts
50

Food Waste by State 2024

Food Waste by State 2024

Food waste is a major problem both in the U.S. and in countries around the world. Up to 40% of all food is wasted in the country. Food can be wasted in a variety of ways: large amounts can be allowed to spoil or be thrown out, foods that could be recycled or donated are not, and efforts are not made to mitigate food waste.

The website Lawnstarter ranked states on these three factors to determine which states are the worst food wasters.

Most Wasteful States

Arizona

Arizona is ranked as the state with the worst overall food waste. The state ranked fourth for the amount of food wasted and first for the lowest share of food wasted instead of being recycled or donated. While it has a somewhat decent food waste mitigation effort, ranking at the seventeenth worst, it was not enough to offset the other factors.

North Dakota

North Dakota ranks second among the worst states for food waste. Much of this is due to the lack of mitigation of food waste, where the state ranks eighth worse, and the amount of food wasted instead of being recycled or donated, where it is the third-worst state. North Dakota has the second-highest share of food wasted and the second-lowest share of food recycled.

Hawaii

Hawaii is a non-contiguous state, meaning it is separated from the rest of the continental United States, making it more difficult to obtain certain items. Strangely, this has caused the state to have a food spoilage problem, despite the cost of groceries and raw materials being higher. In the case of Hawaii, much of the explanation can be attributed to the higher cost of living and the citizens that this attracts. Hawaii is the most expensive place in terms of the cost of goods, which has increased the average debt considerably. Because Hawaii also lacks the infrastructure for a food donation or recycling program, It was the second-worst in that category.

Nevada

Much of Nevada’s food waste is a result of the opulence and indulgence of Las Vegas. The city is filled with buffets of food, much of which goes uneaten and thrown away. It has the seventh-worst record for recycling or donating food. Although food waste mitigation efforts are currently ranked seventh-worst, people in Nevada are hoping to make a change. Composting is becoming a much more accepted practice, especially in and around Las Vegas.

Oklahoma

Rounding out the top five of most wasteful states is Oklahoma. It is the sixth-worst state for both repurposing food waste through recycling or donating and methods of mitigating food waste. The state is tied for the second fewest number of composting facilities and fourth for the fewest food waste solutions providers.

Least Wasteful States

On the other end of the spectrum, some states are doing a much better job at reducing their food waste. Massachusetts ranks as the least wasteful state. Massachusetts has the second-highest share of recycled food, the third-highest share of donated food, and the second-most composting facilities. It is clear that Massachusetts is making a concerted effort to reduce food waste across the state.

Other states that are doing a good job reducing their food waste are Connecticut, Oregon, Vermont, and Louisiana.

Food Waste by State 2024

- A ranking of 1 indicates the highest (least desirable) level of food waste, while a ranking of 50 indicates the least (and most desirable) level of food waste.
- Overall rankings are compiled from three sub-rankings: amount of food wasted, amount of food wasted that could have been repurposed through donation or recycling, and efforts to mitigate food waste.

Download Table Data

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State
Overall Rank
Food Wasted Rank
Wasted Instead of Reused
Mitigation Efforts Rank
Arizona14117
North Dakota21238
Hawaii316212
Nevada41177
Oklahoma51566
West Virginia61984
Wisconsin75424
Georgia861320
Montana925910
South Dakota1033101
South Carolina1121169
Wyoming1231122
Mississippi1329153
North Carolina1481723
Kentucky15262215
New Hampshire16321914
Missouri17302018
New Mexico1814527
Delaware1938245
Tennessee20343316
Alaska21412711
New Jersey22243421
Utah23221126
Virginia2491833
Florida2523839
Maryland26202332
Colorado27233525
Alabama28282629
Michigan29102140
Nebraska30444113
Indiana31272536
Rhode Island32371438
Minnesota33362834
Texas3434641
Arkansas35393130
Kansas36403035
Pennsylvania37183642
Ohio38133243
Idaho39424819
Maine40434031
Illinois41354237
California4214950
New York4372947
Iowa44504522
Washington45173745
Louisiana46494328
Vermont47463944
Oregon48454448
Connecticut49474746
Massachusetts50485049
showing: 50 rows

Food Waste by State 2024

Sources