The Biggest Environmental Problems, Food-Waste

Food waste burdens waste management systems increase food insecurity and are a major contributor to the global problems of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Reducing it at all levels consumer and domestic could therefore have significant environmental, social, and economic benefits.

The amount of food lost is equivalent to roughly 1.3 billion tons, which is enough to feed 3 billion people. Considering there are 690 million people suffering from malnutrition, it is clear we have more than enough for everyone to eat their fill. Beyond the human tragedy, the damage from producing this food is one of the biggest environmental problems on our planet, which we will expand on in the agriculture section further down.

About 17% of global food production may go wasted, according to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report 2021, with 61% of this coming from households, 26% from food service, and 13% from retail.

How to tackle this problem:

At the government level, this index encourages countries to use its methodology for measuring food waste at the household, food service, and retail level in order to guide national strategies preventing and tracking progress towards the 2030 goals.

Food-related businesses such as supermarkets can do their bit towards reducing waste by maintaining the quality and safety of produce, using the least amount of energy possible. Internet of Things technology, for example, can be used to monitor both storage temperatures and stock levels for food retailers.

But there are also many things that can be done at the consumer or household level, with the FAO suggesting a range of ways to waste less food, for example by adopting a healthier diet, only buying what you need, and storing food wisely.

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