I just can't wrap my head around the fact that in this day and age, there are people in this world who have no choice but to go to bed hungry. There are people who are literally starving to death, and yet half of the food produced on earth never even reaches a human mouth.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers released a report called "Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not," and in it, they claim that between 30% and 50% of the four billion tons of food produced around the world each year go to waste. You might think we're the worst wasters here in the United States, but we're not. The worst food wasters are the people of  Britain where are much as 30% of vegetables aren’t harvested because they’re odd shaped and supermarkets won’t sell them. A completely ridiculous reason, if you ask me!

The problem doesn't just end with Britain. The problem of food waste is a very real thing here in the United States and also in Europe where the report says that half of the food brought into both places is thrown away by consumers.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers also said in their report that “inadequate infrastructure and storage facilities,” as well as “overly strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one-free offers, and consumers demanding cosmetically perfect food,” all contribute to the problem.

Dr Tim Fox, of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, said:

The amount of food wasted and lost globally is staggering. It could be used to feed the growing population and those in hunger today. It is also a waste of the land, water and energy resources used in the production, processing and distribution of this food."

If that doesn't get your fired up, maybe this will. The report also says that 1,452,946,287,969,816 gallons of water is wasted globally in growing crops that are never eaten.

I remember when I was a kid and we’d go to the Dunkin Donuts by my house around the end of the day and they’d give us whatever donuts hadn’t sold because there was a freshness rule and they couldn’t leave them out past a certain period of time.  That same Dunkin Donuts now throws their soon be to stale donuts in a dumpster and locks it.  Why?  Because there are laws in place which prevent food outlets and grocery stores from giving away perfectly good food.

I understand why the rules and laws are in place. It's because we're a sue happy society, but not a single person should go without nourishment because mass quantities of food is being thrown away. There is just no excuse.

As we prepare to step into a new year, I think we all should be more mindful of food waste. That is my challenge for you in 2017.

[via Institution of Mechanical Engineers]