Would you care for a bunch of bananas that have fallen off from a truck on the highway? Most of us would ignore it. After all, it is just some fruit that will soon decompose into the ground. Food is one of the best gifts of nature. It is not only the necessity of human life but also brings joy, satisfaction, and gratification. However, it is in human nature to take things for granted. Like many other things, excess food is discarded. This leads to food waste. Most people consider food to be biodegradable. In contradiction, its wastage has a menacing impact on our environment in one way or another.
Abundant and unconsumed food often gets rid of. This food is either expire or spoil. Thrown away food results in food waste. Around 40% of food waste happens in America. Most of this food is fully nutritious and perfect for consumption. Un-soled or uneaten food ends up in landfills and water bodies.
Process of Food Waste?
Food loss or food waste occurs throughout the process of the food chain. That is from its production till consumption. During the food production stage, food grown on fields may die or is not send for processing. In the second stage of food processing, food items are thrown away because of their low quality. Moreover, the distributors and retailers reject the food due to its foul color or appearance. Next, come the consumers who either leave the food on their plates or get rid of leftovers in their fridge.
Furthermore, 20 billion pounds of food waste occurs during production. 2 billion pounds of it is in the manufacturing stage , whereas, 43 billion pounds of food waste occurs in the retail stores. Additionally, households still rank number one when it comes to food wastage. 76 billion pounds of food waste is by households in the US. This may be due to food spoilage, overbuying, over-preparation, or poor planning.
Impact on Environment:
Growing food requires a lot of resources. Almost all of these resources come from our environment. Every stage in the food supply and demand chain utilizes tons of raw materials. Hence, the materials such as water, soil, fuel, and air, etc. are all used up in these stages. When we waste food, we are indirectly wasting all these materials as well.
Additionally, if you throw away a perfectly fine apple, you are wasting 125 liters of water on average. That is right. It takes this much water to grow one juicy apple. Moreover, when the annual 40% of food is thrown away in landfills, it rots there. The decomposition process releases a lot of methane. This gas is deadlier than carbon dioxide and is a major contributor to global warming.
Also, the food comes packaged in plastic casing. When you throw away the surplus food, you are introducing more plastic into the environment. All these factors are contributing to environmental deterioration. Our environment’s sustainability is at risk and food waste is one of its reasons.
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How to Reduce Food Waste?
The world’s population is increasing rapidly. In the future coping up with the food demands would be challenging. If we continue to waste food at such speed, the coming generations would starve to death. However, it is never too late to take the right step. Here are some of the strategies that we can use to reduce food wastage.
It is utilizing unused food such as fruits and vegetables through a decaying process. The compost is then used as a fertilizer to grow crops. Food producers can use compost collected from around the city to grow healthy food. This not only saves money but is also environmentally friendly. Moreover, the discarded food can be used in animal fodder.
2. Donate Food:
Excess food can be donated to homeless people, shelters, or those in need. Instead of throwing away extra food, practice its donation.
3. Practice Zero Waste:
Zero waste is a practice of reusing and recycling materials with aim of producing zero trash. With a zero-waste lifestyle, you can pre-plan your weekly grocery items. It will also prevent overbuying food.
4. Create Awareness:
Create awareness on your social networks about food waste. Give tips to prevent it and become a responsible human. Educate people through food education campaigns.
5. Improve your Consuming Behavior:
Buy from the farmers market or local. Improve your meal plans. Be aware of the food expiration date so it could be consumed beforehand. In addition to that, do not throw away food unless it is completely inedible. Try to compost as much as possible.
Benefits of Preventing Food Waste:
• One of the benefits of food waste prevention is that it will save you money.
• Less food waste will result in less emission of methane gas in the environment. Also, the prevention will save natural resources in our environments like fuel, water, and soil, etc.
• Through donations, many homeless and needy people will be fed across the world.
Food waste is threatening to mankind and our environment. Food industries, as well as people, should act responsibly in this matter. All of the surplus food should be distributed among those in need, rather than discarding heaps of nutritious food. We should all play our part in creating awareness about this problem and work towards a sustainable environment.