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The Urgency of Addressing Food Waste


(SHUTTERSTOCK/Pixel-Shot)


Have you ever thought that reducing food waste could actually feed the world? According to ReFED’s Food waste data in 2021, 33.8 million people live in food-insecure households in the US, including 5 million children. ReFED also stated that less than 2% of the excess food was donated. Meanwhile, 18% of the food waste was composted, and 36% ended up in landfills. Ironically, the current global situation shows us that up to 40% of food intended for human consumption is not eaten. On the other hand, more than 800 million people on this earth still go hungry every day. 


How does food waste impact the environment?

If the population growth and amount of food that is produced globally continue to develop at their current pace, by 2050, The world is predicted to produce 53 million more metric tons of food, which is equivalent to converting 442 million hectares of land, forests, and grassland into farmland in 30 years. And, of course, these issues could impact climate change and other environmental issues that can possibly occur. 


The issue of food waste itself came from big-scale industries to individual households.  A number of variables, such as convenience, cost, excess production, retail standards, buying preferences, and more, can lead to food waste. The environment can also benefit considerably from reducing waste through changes in the production and consumption of food. The environmental footprints associated with different food types, including grains, vegetables, fish, meat, and dairy, vary greatly. One kilogram of tomatoes requires 0.35 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions to grow and harvest. 36 kilograms of emissions are produced for every kilogram of beef produced. The greenhouse gas emissions from plant-based commodities are 10 to 50 times lower than those from the majority of animal-based products when the entire supply chain is factored in.


Effective Solutions for Food Waste

  1. Compost

Nowadays, people are tempted to throw away their vegetable peels in the garbage. Composting food waste is an innovative way to prevent degradable waste from ending in landfills. You can put the tiny composting containers that you can store in your house.

  1. Save and eat leftovers safely

Label and freeze any leftovers if you don’t think you will be able to eat them in the next three days. You can also label them to keep them tracked and safe.

  1. Food Donations

Food surplus can be donated to those who need it rather than thrown away. Surplus food donations can help provide for people who have limited access to food. 


Overall, showing your little actions towards food could actually help the environment to get better. Reducing food waste may not be easy, but you can start with the little things, such as finishing every food that is served to you. “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” -Robert Swan.

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