According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), 1.3 billion tonnes of food is either lost or wasted.Immagine, that The Great Pyramid of Giza weighs just about 5.75 million tons!
Food waste contributes to the hunger and food insecurity all over the world as well as to the three planetary crisis:
Climate change – sending food to the garbage and then to the landfill,contributes to generating an estimated 8 to 10 % of global greenhouse emission. What is more, in some countries the regular houses are using the garbage disposers in the sinks that shred and send the food scraps through the wastewater and water treatment plants which use a huge amount of energy to pump and treat the water. Apart from the ecological point of view of wasting energy, this also results in higher water and electricity bills.
Biodiversity loss – the global food system as we know is the primary reason for biodiversity loss – agriculture was identified as a threat to 86% of species at risk of extinction! The land is used for mono-cultures, there is a growing need to produce more and cheaper food which expands the amount of land used for farming which does not leave space for the natural cycle of some areas.
Pollution – growing, transporting and delivering the food means the use of various tools, machinery and packaging. All of those eventually end up in the landfill, oceans or stay in the field as microplastic. There is also no guarantee that the machinery used in the fields and for transportation is up-to-date, has low emissions or does not have leaks.
The loss occurs in the entire food system – from the production, to transport and sale points, a very big part of it comes to the consumers – the individuals and the households. It is estimated we waste more than 570 million tons.
What could be the solution?
UNEP studies have shown that the best practice to manage organic food waste and reduce its environmental impact, is composting:
-Compost preparation at home or on special power-plants in some countries, reduces landfill methane emissions.
-Reducing the food waste would reduce the consumption needs and land can be returned to the protected areas.
-Compost to fertilize the soil, so, in other words, returning the nutrients needed for food production back to the soil, not only reduces the costs of production and their accessibility, but also reduces the dependence of the chemical fertilizers and other agricultural input that pollute the environment.
-Raise awareness of the food waste and other trash you make – as in many things, little steps are the ones to make a change. Separating the food scraps make you better understand your consuming habits that can help and change your lifestyle and even save you money!
Everyone can bring their contribution to the table! Start your food reducing journey – plan your shopping and eating, learn new recipes, prepare only what you can eat
To take things further, you can either compost yourself, or separate the organic waste to be composted by your country’s authorities. You can join (or start) your community’s composting initiative!
Watch the video (link) to discover how and what you can compose!
This article is part of the Erasmus+ “Intensive energy saving” project. The project aims to enhance responsibility and social awareness among young people aged 18-30 regarding ecology and energy saving. Through various activities, such as interactive educational materials, workshops, and meetings with experts, the project intends to promote youth engagement, initiative, and solidarity in addressing environmental issues. Focused on the energy crisis and climate change, the project seeks to empower young people to take part in a social campaign on energy saving. Stay tuned to know more about the progress of this project!