Food Waste: A Manageable Emission

Food waste is one of the well-known, but perhaps less-discussed contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, yet 10 percent of all human-caused emissions are created by it.

Leading causes include farming pests and disease, weather, and consumer non-use due to spoilage, over-preparation, impulse buying or misreading label expiration dates. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, some 1.3 billion tons of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, seafood, and grains gets lost or wasted each year.

Notably, much of it is preventable. With its vast economic, social, and environmental impact food waste tallies about four times the amount of food needed to feed almost 800 million undernourished people around the world.

Agriculturalists and businesses are encouraged to increase production and improve efficiencies and work together to implement policies that help contribute to a sustainable future.

While an individual might find it difficult to have an effect on farming and business, they nonetheless have considerable clout at home just by being a smart, responsible shopper, buying food stuffs for the short term or freezing foods for later use.

Maybe it’s obvious, but be aware of what’s already sitting on the shelf to avoid buying duplicate items, and why not have “leftovers night” to not only clean out the fridge, but also provide a quick and easy meal. How about composting?

Sometimes simple solutions resolve complex problems.

When you work to reduce food waste, you’ll reap personal benefits as well as help combat the tangled environmental and social issues. Moreover, you’ll save money by using all the food you buy and reduce your carbon footprint by preventing foods from sitting in landfills producing methane emissions.

Conserve energy and resources. Donate food you don’t want or need and in the process support your community. Food waste is a personally manageable emission.


Payal Shah:

1. Two ways that food waste can be decreased are by having a “left overs” night to use the groceries in your refrigerator and also by being a responsible shopper and not over buying.
2. The use of math can help monitor changes to the global issue by helping people calculate how many meals can be created with the groceries they buy to reduce the over buying of groceries they already have.

Sep 11, 2017

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