2022’s States That Waste the Most Food

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on LawnStarter.

No matter how much turkey you gobble up this Thanksgiving, more food could end up in the trash instead of your belly, depending on where you live.

About 30% to 40% of the national food supply goes to waste each year, 200 million pounds of which comes from Thanksgiving turkeys alone. But some states contribute more to that total than others.

Ahead of one of the tastiest (and waste-iest) holidays, LawnStarter ranked 2022’s States That Waste the Most Food.

We compared the 50 states based on how much food they waste, how much they repurpose, and what measures they have in place to reduce food loss.

Following are the states where people waste the most food, starting with the worst.

1. Arizona

Tempe Arizona
AevanStock / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 82.91

Food wasted rank: 4

Repurposed food rank: 1

Mitigation efforts rank: 17

2. North Dakota

North Dakota
ZakZeinert / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 78.13

Food wasted rank: 12

Repurposed food rank: 3

Mitigation efforts rank: 8

3. Hawaii

Lanikai Beach in Kailua, Hawaii
segawa7 / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 77.54

Food wasted rank: 16

Repurposed food rank: 2

Mitigation efforts rank: 12

4. Nevada

Las Vegas Skyline
littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 77.12

Food wasted rank: 11

Repurposed food rank: 7

Mitigation efforts rank: 7

5. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma traffic highways
Gerson Repreza / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 76.68

Food wasted rank: 15

Repurposed food rank: 6

Mitigation efforts rank: 6

6. West Virginia

West Virginia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 75.79

Food wasted rank: 19

Repurposed food rank: 8

Mitigation efforts rank: 4

7. Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 75.73

Food wasted rank: 5

Repurposed food rank: 4

Mitigation efforts rank: 24

8. Georgia

Kennesaw, Georgia
Demetrius C / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 74.90

Food wasted rank: 6

Repurposed food rank: 13

Mitigation efforts rank: 20

9. Montana

Missoula, Montana
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 74.33

Food wasted rank: 25

Repurposed food rank: 9

Mitigation efforts rank: 10

10. South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota
Sopotnicki / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 74.00

Food wasted rank: 33

Repurposed food rank: 10

Mitigation efforts rank: 1

11. South Carolina

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 72.77

Food wasted rank: 21

Repurposed food rank: 16

Mitigation efforts rank: 9

12. Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 72.75

Food wasted rank: 31

Repurposed food rank: 12

Mitigation efforts rank: 2

13. Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 72.50

Food wasted rank: 29

Repurposed food rank: 15

Mitigation efforts rank: 3

14. North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina
Kevin M. McCarthy / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 72.35

Food wasted rank: 8

Repurposed food rank: 17

Mitigation efforts rank: 23

15. Kentucky

Louisville Kentucky
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 70.96

Food wasted rank: 26

Repurposed food rank: 22

Mitigation efforts rank: 15


A man studies financial data at his computer
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We ranked the 50 states from most wasteful (No. 1) to least wasteful (No. 50) based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across all the weighted metrics listed below.

  • Share of Wasted Food (Out of Total Food Surplus)
  • Quantity of Wasted Food (Tons)
  • Value of Surplus Food
  • Share of Recycled Food
  • Quantity of Recycled Food (Tons)
  • Share of Donated Food
  • Quantity of Donated Food (Tons)
  • Presence of Food Waste Disposal Bans
  • Presence of Food Sharing Program
  • Share of Households with Residential Food Collection Programs
  • Number of Food Banks
  • Number of Composting Facilities
  • Number of Anaerobic Digestion Facilities
  • Number of Food Waste Solution Providers

Sources: Food Rescue US, ReFED, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and US Composting Council.