Did you throw out your dinner because you were worried about overeating, felt full, or were turned off by the flavor? Did you realize that by throwing food out, you’re also wasting water and causing climate change?
Approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food worth $1 trillion is lost or wasted yearly. According to a World Food Programme (WEP) estimate, about a third of all food produced each year is wasted or lost before it can be eaten.
And consider – after the US and China, wasted food is the third-largest carbon dioxide generator in the world. Between 8% and 10% of the world’s carbon emissions result from all these unconsumed products. According to statistics, 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) equivalent to carbon dioxide are emitted annually due to food waste.
Considering Water Waste
Uneaten food waste accounts for a fourth of our water use or $172 billion in lost water.
According to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report 2021, roughly 17% of the world’s food output is lost or wasted. Homes generate approximately 61% of this waste, 26% by food service, and 13% by retail.
It’s irresponsible to waste food since it adds to the garbage burden and puts additional strain on the waste management system. The garbage ends up in landfills. It occasionally also flows directly into bodies of water.
It is well known that consumer food is lost during manufacture, storage, and shipping. However, there has been a rapid rise in household food waste recently. All of this amounts to a waste of the energy, water, and land needed to produce food.
Therefore, it is important to remember that if you toss away leftovers, you are not only throwing away tomorrow’s meal; each forkful of food was accountable for greenhouse gas emissions before it even reached your plate. Food production, processing, packaging, and transportation all have an impact on global warming. And when we discard it, it continues to produce greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere as it rots.
According to estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, if food waste were a nation, it would rank third in terms of greenhouse gas emissions after the US and China.
Agriculture is responsible for one-third of all global greenhouse gas emissions, and each year, we throw away roughly 1.8 billion tonnes of food, or 30% of what we produce. If we as a planet completely ceased wasting food, we would get rid of 8% of our overall emissions.
Of course, not all of this waste is the fault of particular homes. According to a 2018 survey, roughly a third of our fruit and vegetables are rejected because they are the wrong size or form before they ever make it to the shop shelf. (Learn more about the overhaul of the food chain to reduce waste.)
The Need for Sustainability
E-commerce is expanding globally. In 2020, global e-retail sales increased by 27.6% in comparison to 2019, making up 18% of total retail sales globally. As a result of the expansion of e-commerce, our highways are seeing an increase in the number of delivery vehicles.
The need for sustainable e-commerce is growing as customers become more environmentally sensitive. According to a poll of 6,000 customers in North America, Europe, and Asia, 72% of respondents are already actively purchasing more environmentally friendly goods.
Greener solutions are needed because of the trend toward more environmentally friendly buying and the rising GHG emissions produced by the e-commerce industry.
Ecommerce businesses gain from this in various ways, such as enhancing their corporate reputation, being ready for climate change policies, maintaining industry competition, and appealing to consumers and workers. That is why it is crucial for eCommerce companies to estimate carbon footprint on their shipping, as well as other business operations.
By assessing their carbon footprint, a business or organization may determine how much of an impact they are having on the environment.
However, the methods used to generate these estimates can differ greatly and frequently take into consideration only a small portion of the variables that affect carbon emissions.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The entire amount of greenhouse gasses (such as carbon dioxide and methane) produced by human actions is known as a carbon footprint.
One of the highest rates in the world, the average carbon footprint of a person in the United States is 16 tons. The average carbon footprint throughout the globe is closer to 4 tons. By 2050, the average worldwide carbon footprint per year must fall to under 2 tons in order to have the best chance of preventing an increase in global temperatures of 2°C.
Individual carbon footprint reduction from 16 tons to 2 tons takes time! We can all make a change by making minor adjustments to our behavior, such as eating less meat, booking fewer connecting flights, and line-drying our clothing.
And all of this is happening as world hunger levels continue to rise. According to an FAO estimate, a staggering 690 million people experienced hunger in 2019. Two billion people could be nourished with all the food produced but never eaten. What’s worse, food loss and waste have an effect on the world economy and cost the economy $936 billion annually.
In actuality, there is enough food for everyone. We waste too much of it, and that is the issue. Just think about this: According to WEP, consumers in wealthy nations squander nearly as much food annually as is produced in sub-Saharan Africa every year.
Ways To Decrease
It is crucial to develop national policies to reduce food waste. It is crucial for supermarkets to reduce food waste. They need to keep the goods safe and of high quality. Monitoring the storage temperatures of stored goods requires the use of technologies.
A sustainable, wholesome, and healthy food system is the foundation for reducing food waste. The guiding principles should be eating well, buying what you need, and keeping food appropriately.
Create a composting area since wasted food may enrich the soil with nutrients and lower your carbon footprint. According to reports, home composting may be able to divert up to 150 kg of food waste per household from local collection agencies each year. When you can, share or contribute to food banks.
It is obvious that there is a global issue with food waste that needs a global solution. Governments must adopt legally enforceable objectives for reducing food waste and prioritize reducing food loss and waste, particularly on farms.
In addition, each of us may make an effort to purchase, cook, and eat more wisely by only preparing what we actually need and avoiding food waste. In order to help battle poverty and reduce the effects of food production on the environment and the climate, we must ultimately reduce food loss and waste from farm to fork by at least halving it.