Did you know that a third of all food (around the world) goes to waste? This occurs either during production or retail or is subsequently thrown away by consumers themselves.
You may think that throwing a few leftovers in the trash won’t do any harm when really, out of every nine people, one person doesn’t have enough food so that they can stay healthy. As unlikely as it may seem from the comfort of our homes with a fully stocked fridge, world hunger is an existing issue that is causing an alarming number of deaths than some chronic diseases.
In a new report “Strategies to Achieve Economic and Environmental Gains by Reducing Food Waste”, it is documented that the amount of food wasted is putting a toll on Mother Nature – not to mention the billions of dollars spent by the government and consumers. There is no question about the adverse effect this will have on the planet.
In addition, data from the National Environment Agency shows that the food recycling rate in Singapore has not yet grown above 13%.
Wasted food is no longer a luxury we can afford and it’s not too late to turn back and make a difference. Here are some truths you need to learn about food waste before we can move on to a solution that can solve the problem.
Shocking Facts about Food Waste:
We’re Wasting 1.3 Billion Tons of Food per Year
It’s not just your unfinished apple or rotten eggs that go in the trash; food waste is a recurring phenomenon that is happening at multiple stages on the chain. To be exact, 1.3 billion tons of food items, agricultural produce, and other edibles go to waste every year. The reasons for these staggering statistics aren’t limited to a few. Keeping food for longer than the expiration date, agricultural produce that doesn’t meet aesthetic standards and improper food portions are just a few ways that privileged societies contribute to food waste.
Developed/Developing Countries lose 40% of their Food
You may think that developed countries are the perpetrators behind food waste, but it’s the developing countries as well. Countries that do not face problems of poverty or hunger waste a large amount, approximately 40%, of food at the lower levels of the chain i.e. retail and consumer levels. This is when retailers refuse to accept produce that doesn’t look pleasant and consumers throw away food because they’re unable to properly plan out their meals.
On the other hand, developing countries are unable to consume a large chunk of the agricultural products they grow due to inefficiencies during harvesting and storage. This, in turn, happens due to a lack of adequate facilities that can improve rates of consumption.
Lifestyle Changes have Worsened the Issue
Another way that the food waste epidemic is worsening is the lifestyle changes that cause many people to fill up their plates with more food than they can eat. Yes, while overeating can lead to problems like obesity, it can also lead to food waste. Being used to larger portions, whether you’re at a restaurant or shopping at a grocery store, results in opting for larger portions as opposed to smaller ones.
Land, Water, and Biodiversity are Wasted Away
While food waste in itself is a problem, the harm it causes to the environment is also a concerning issue. According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, unconsumed food takes up an insanely large volume of water and contributes to global warming as well. It does so by adding over 3 billion tons of greenhouse gases like methane to the atmosphere on a yearly basis.
A Quarter of all Food Waste can Feed the World’s Hungry
Even considering the damage to the atmosphere and the environment, the implications of food waste aren’t considered until actual figures come into the picture. If 1.3 billion tons of wasted food per year doesn’t sound like a lot to you, just know that a mere quarter of that much would be enough to feed the world’s starving population. These types of numbers can’t be made up; they truly highlight the need for change and improvement in the system.
3rd Largest Cause of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Global warming is an issue that nations around the world are highly concerned about yet it’s alarming that its root causes have yet to be addressed. When unconsumed food is thrown away and left in landfills it leads to the production of methane, a greenhouse gas that is stronger than carbon dioxide. These gases rise and heat up the earth’s atmosphere, causing the temperature to rise. Food waste has a carbon footprint of its own and it’s devastating that it takes up a spot as a significant emitter of greenhouse gases.
Reducing Food Waste could save US$120-300 billion per year by 2030
Considering that a large chunk of food goes to waste happens at a consumer level, it’s not surprising that reducing food waste can help one save money. Grocery stores that throw away produce that don’t meet their aesthetic standards or edibles approaching the expiration date are costing themselves a fortune by doing so. And it’s not just them but families who overstock their kitchen cabinets and refrigerators with the food they won’t eat, as well. The estimated cost of food waste over 400 billion dollars every year.
How Food Waste Recycling can Help:
In-vessel composting involves mixing food waste with garden waste – shredding it and then composting it in an enclosed system, along with accurate temperature control and monitoring. The compost can then be used in a range of different places such as gardens, brownfield sites, landscaping, and agriculture. There are many different systems used for this process, including containers, silos, agitated bays, tunnels, rotating drums, and enclosed halls.
Anaerobic Digestion uses microorganisms to break down food waste, animal manure, slurries and energy crops in the absence of oxygen, inside an enclosed system. This converts manure, wastewater solids, food waste, wastewater and residuals, fats, and other organic wastes into biogas. Separated digested solids can be composted, applied to cropland, or converted into other products. Nutrients in the liquid stream can be used as fertiliser.
Waste-To-Fertiliser technology reduces, converts and recycles these wastes into much more manageable and eco-friendly fertiliser. This is done by fermenting and decomposing food waste with the aid of microorganisms – to produce high-quality fertiliser. An efficient food waste fermentation and decomposition machine will not only be more convenient to use but also provide superior performance.
As you can see from the abovementioned points, a number of individual elements that work together contribute to the successful and sustainable management of household waste.
Certain types of food wastes are inevitable. Every household generates substantial food waste, which coupled with commercial food preparation and food processing leads to a mind-boggling amount of food wastage. This is something than can be recycled and reused to our advantage – once we take the necessary action.
When done correctly, food waste recycling helps reduce the cost of transportation and incineration, and focuses on environmental protection. It provides economic, environmental, community, and health and sanitation benefits.
Keen on learning more? Discover more about our cost-efficient and high-performance food waste recycling machines today!