Written by Boris Perišić

After attending a fascinating, eye-opening exhibition about food waste, organised by the Catalan food bank, I would say that waste leaves nothing but a bitter taste.

288 kg of food is wasted every minute in this region of Spain alone. Food that was produced, transported, and sometimes even cooked is simply thrown away. In Spain 3 out of 4 households throw food away on a regular basis. COVID-19 increased the waste of food by 17,5 %. 

Do you know what the numbers are for your country? Do you know what can be done to change this situation?  Perhaps we can ask ourselves a question: what happens to the food that isn’t eaten? The decisions we make daily when shopping are crucial for reducing and preventing waste and its environmental impact. 

We throw away an alarming 2,460 tons of food a minute worldwide, 1/3 of what we produce for consumption. That’s equal to about 1.3 billion tons of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, seafood, and grains that either never leave the farm, get lost or spoiled during distribution, or are thrown away in hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, schools, or homes. It might well be enough to feed every undernourished person in the world.

All food that we don’t eat is waste and there are many possible reasons for it. It can be due to overproduction, bad packaging, storage problems, excessive buying, confusing best-before dates, etc.  Wasted food isn’t just a social or humanitarian concern—it’s an environmental problem. When we waste food, we also waste all the energy, water, and labour it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. When food goes to a landfill and rots, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas, which according to some sources, is 25 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide. About 7% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced if we stopped wasting food. 

35% of food waste is accounted for by supermarkets, shops, and private households, simply throwing it away. Much of it is still perfectly fit for consumption.  800 million people suffer from hunger and undernourishment. All these people could be fed by less than a 1/4 of the food lost or wasted in the US and Europe.

Access to food is a human right. The improvement in access to food that has happened in developed countries has brought an important change: Instead of food shortages like those of past centuries, we live in abundance, and we have made the transition from eating for survival to eating for pleasure. But the food system has already started to show signs that soon, the way we feed ourselves now will not be the same in the future. 

So let us start doing something about it right now. 

Starting with not throwing that little piece of old bread and following a few rules.

Here are a few simple steps that we can do as a consumer to make a difference and cut down our emissions :

1) buy ONLY what you need

2) educate others about food waste

3) use the food you already have ( fry your leftovers & blend your ripe veggies & fruit)

4) use your freezer instead of letting food go bad in your fridge. 

Bonne appétit 🙂

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