How does food waste affect the environment?

Food waste is not only wasting food that can feed millions of hungry people, it is also a climate issue of concern because 31% of food is wasted which means 31% of energy, water and materials used for growing, harvesting, packing, distributing and storing are also used in vain. The result is an excess of food weighing the equivalent of 5.5 million buses, which will emit a catastrophic amount of greenhouse gases.

Source of food waste

Food waste comes from five sectors: institutional, commercial, industrial, residential and food business store services.

The amount of water used

Nearly a quarter of arable land on Earth is used for irrigated agriculture, the World Bank says. Different agricultural industries need different amounts of irrigation water. Among them, livestock farming requires the most water. It is estimated that 2498 liters of water are needed to produce just one hamburger, almost four times the amount of water a person drinks in a year.

Similar to the alarming statistics of the United States, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that a third of the global food supply is never consumed.

Amount of carbon generated

Food begins to produce carbon dioxide from the moment a seed is planted or an animal is born. To feed the world’s 7.9 billion people, forests are often cleared to make way for agriculture. The World Wildlife Fund says beef and soy production is responsible for more than two-thirds of habitat loss in the Amazon. 

The process of farming, harvesting, processing, transporting and packaging food accounts for a large part of the greenhouse gas emissions of many crops.

Packaging problem

Plastic is very popular for food items because it is cheap, light, flexible and hygienic. Unfortunately, it’s also non-biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to break down, depending on the type of plastic. Worse still, sealed plastic containers for leftovers slow down the breakdown of food, increasing methane emissions.

Plastic packaging is often unavoidable, but the amount of plastic produced could be reduced if it wasn’t wasted on food that ends up in landfills every year. 

Methane gas from food waste

One of the most devastating consequences of food waste each year is the methane organic materials produced when their bacteria break down. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is reportedly 80 times more warming to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Of course, food primarily produces methane as it rots in landfills.

The issue of food is always an important issue in life, the nutrition in food is always a necessary supply for your body and your family. However, we should have a proper and sufficient shopping plan, learn how to preserve to limit and cut down on food waste.


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