Food waste damages the climate, water, soil and biodiversity
When we leave food on the plate and throw it into the trash, we not only waste a very precious good that not everyone has access to. Without knowing it, we are also harming the planet.
Throwing away leftover food that we weren’t able to finish, like yogurt that expired a few days ago or overripe fruits, may seem like an act with no major consequences.
However, at the end of the year, the sum of all wasted food amounts to 1.3 billion tons: a third of all food produced worldwide. This figure is intolerable, considering that 1 billion people go hungry.
1/3 of our food is lost or wasted every year.
Here's how you can help reduce food waste:
📅Understand dates on food
🍏Buy 'ugly' fruit & vegetables
— United Nations (@UN) January 10, 2020
It is mostly fruits and vegetables in poor condition or expired dairy products, but many cooked foods are also thrown away (15% of total wasted food).
The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to end hunger in the world, reduce emissions and improve the health of the planet. Unfortunately, the level of achievement of the objectives leaves much to be desired.
Loss of natural resources
Wasting food not only means throwing out tons of food, but it also means wasting natural resources that humanity needs in order to feed itself.
The water, energy, and land with which food is grown are suffering the consequences of overexploitation, which also has negative effects on the biodiversity of natural species.
In the case of Spain, throwing away 1.3 billion kilos of food means wasting a volume of water equivalent to the flow of the Volga River (Russia) in one year (the amount required to irrigate the fields and produce food).
Are you helping to prevent food waste at school? Though our planet has an abundance of natural resources, we consume more than it provides.
— Nord Anglia Education (@NAEducation) May 21, 2018
This irresponsible behaviour also contributes to adding 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere, which represents 8-10% of total emissions.
These gases are generated in different ways, but many are related to the food sector. Activities such as agriculture and raising livestock are responsible for many of these gases.
Did you know that livestock accounts for a quarter of methane emissions? For this reason, one piece of experts’ advice to reduce emissions is to reduce meat consumption.
The energy we use to produce food also generates polluting emissions. And the indiscriminate consumption of electricity has environmental consequences.
The food system consumes 30% of the energy available worldwide.
The most serious thing is that 70% of this energy is spent solely on the transport, processing, packaging, and storage of food. That is why it is so important to choose the consumption of fresh and local products.