Food waste and its impact on the environment

Did you know food waste is closely linked to Globalization? Yes, food waste is the major contributor to Greenhouse gas in turn climate change. Many of us don’t realize how much food we waste at some point in time. For instance, think about the days when we cook more than what we could eat or the milk that is left too long inside the refrigerator. All these are discarded on landfills which rot there for days to produce greenhouse gas. Throwing occasionally might sound like meager damage to the planet from one household. According to Food and Agricultural Organization, we waste about one-third of all produced food. To say roughly, if food waste was a country it would be the third-largest in the world.  

Food waste not only occurs at the retailer or consumer stage. It occurs throughout all the stages of processes. Also, this is not about just wasting food, think about the land, water, fertilizer, money, fuel, and energy spent on raising that wasted food on the farm. All this is vain because we don’t handle food properly. Just because of that one-third of it is discarded.

Let’s see what is Food waste and Food Loss

Food waste and food loss might seem like similar terms but they are different. Food loss alludes to the earlier stages of production such as harvest, storage, and transportation. Whereas food wastage alludes to food that is good for human consumption however discarded, regularly at general stores or by consumers.

Many of us don’t realize that wasted food has adverse effects on our environment. In this article, you can read about how wasted food hurts our environment.

When you waste food, you waste water!

Food waste means water waste! Yes, when you waste food, you’re wasting millions of water too. Agriculture uses most of the world’s freshwater. Those freshwater resources are diminishing quickly, just like the rise in demand for millions of hungry people and thirsty people globally. We use a large amount of water in every stage of producing food like irrigation, spraying, poring, or any other means. Also, water is much needed for feeding cattle, fishes, and poultry. 

So when discarding food, we also throw away millions of gallons of water used to grow plants and sustain them. Fruits and vegetables that we eat are laden with water because millions of tons of water are used to grow them, even meat and poultry are the heaviest users of water because they drink a lot of water. Each crop has different water needs likewise each animal has different water needs. For instance, to produce a loaf of bread you need 100 buckets of water, whereas to rear one chicken breast you need 54 buckets of water. 

Finally, the water used for wasted food is calculated approximately as 45 trillion gallons. Or in other words, 70% of all fresh-water is used for agriculture.

When food is thrown, Methane is released!

When food is discarded it goes to the landfills, there it rots to produce Methane- a Greenhouse gas that is 28times much potent than Carbon dioxide. If we divert food waste from landfills to an innovative food waste treatment system then we can stop almost 11% of Greenhouse gas emissions. The Methane that is released from food waste hangs around our environment for 12 years and traps most of the heat from Sun. Although methane is short-lived it contributes to 20% of Greenhouse gas emissions. 

Less food waste means fewer methane emissions into the air. 

Food waste means, fuel waste!

To grow, transport, store, and cook food we use oil, diesel, and fossil fuel. For instance, harvesting machinery uses a large amount of fuel, transporting food from the farm to the warehouse, further the machinery that sort, clean, package, or prepare food. Much of these machinery need oil, diesel, and other fuels. Moreover, the landfills are always away from the cities. Hence it is transported faraway through garbage trucks using fuel or diesel to vehicles. Using these fuels release harmful greenhouse gas into the environment. Wasting fuel, or oil both in the back and front end by wasting food has a lot of impact on our environment. 

Food waste means, Land waste!

Land waste with regards to food waste falls under two categories. The land use to produce food and the land used to dump waste food. There are two kinds of land arable and non-arable. Arable lands are where crops can be grown and non-arable is not ideal for crops. These non-arable lands are perfect for livestock. About 900 million hectares of non-arable lands are used for livestock for producing meat. About 11.5 billion hectares of the global land surface are used for agriculture. The land used for growing crops or livestock is not a problem. The real problem is food waste. We never really understand what we waste along with the food. 

About 67 million tons of food in India is wasted every year among which 70-75% of food waste rots in landfills. This puts an overstress on our land which has worked hard to produce food for us already. If we don’t care for losses soon, the ability to yield over-time will degrade as well. 

Food waste harms Biodiversity!

Biodiversity refers to the full spectrum of life across different species and kinds of organisms in an environment of eco-system. For rearing or growing livestock deforestation is done. This affects our natural flora and fauna. When there is an increase in the population of livestock, more natural land is turned into pastures. More the livestock graze on land more it become non-arable. The land becomes less natural and diverse. Marine fishes are caught in large quantity not realizing how their decrease in a population can affect our Bio-diversity. These fishes are then thrown out by consumers, or rejected by stores just because they don’t meet their quality standards or otherwise left to rot in a truck. 

Solution for Food waste Management

The above information shows the different ways how food waste affects our environment. There are many innovative ideas to transform your food waste into renewable energy. Avris environment technologies are trying the best to combat the situation by diverting your food waste from landfill to CHUGG- an innovative food waste treatment system in India which not only lessens the impact of food waste on our environment but provides you enough energy for cooking/ electricity. 

So don’t dump/discard food waste on landfills, instead CHUGG IT! Have happy recycling. 

To know why a food waste treatment system is essential for you Click Here


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