Top Five Fun Facts: May

Eric DesRoberts continues his monthly series of facts and tidbits he’s uncovered during his research to better understand products and packaging. You can also check out his past Fun Facts here.

1. During the SPC Spring Meeting in Toronto last month, I was surprised to learn that about 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption is either wasted or lost. This equates to roughly 1.3 billion tons of food waste. North America is reportedly the highest contributor at nearly 300 kg/per capita/yr with roughly 100 kg attributable to consumer waste. Grist has a few suggestions on what to do with your spoils at home.

2. PayScale recently ranked 850 US colleges by 30-year net return on investment. Harvey Mudd College, Caltech, and MIT round out the top three, and while ROI may not be the best performance metric, it provides an interesting perspective on college education.

3. May is National Bike Month. It is estimated that 0.5% of US workers commute to work on bicycles. Over 85% of people reportedly drive to work (with an average of 1.07 workers per vehicle), about 5% of workers utilize public transportation, and about 3% walk.

4. “There are more Barbie dolls on the planet than there are Americans.” This fun fact came to me in a preview of a new documentary project titled “Do I Need This,” of which the underlying theme is to get consumers to make more conscious purchasing decisions.

5. Employee stress results in roughly $300 billion in lost productivity annually. Adequate sleep, regular exercise, exposure to green space, five minute breaks every hour, and setting aside time for vacations can all help lower this number.

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