We all know that food waste is a big problem, but a new study from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) this week quantified the issue with some truly shocking numbers — and posited five factors exacerbating the problem. (h/t Fast Company.)

First, the bad news: According to BCG, 1.6 billion tons of food, worth roughly $1.2 trillion, goes to waste every year. That’s a third of the food produced globally. Even worse, by the year 2030, that number is projected to climb 2.1 billion tons ($1.5 trillion) of food wasted.

Gross.

The silver lining to this garbage cloud, however, is that the study identified five key drivers of our waste situation:

  • Lack of awareness of the issue and of possible solutions
  • Inadequate supply chain infrastructure
  • Supply chain efficiency efforts that do not focus sufficiently on food loss and waste
  • Weak collaboration across the value chain
  • Insufficient regulations

BCG stipulates that if consumers, governments, non-profits, farmers, companies and others band together, we could actually reclaim $700 billion of that mountain of waste.

There is certainly no shortage of startups looking tackle the problem of food waste. Perhaps that $700 billion incentives will spur even more companies — including bigger corporations — to take action.

Check out the full report for more insight and hopefully some inspiration to help tackle the problem on your own.

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