Today is Earth Day! On this day and everyday, we should try to find ways to protect and preserve the planet we call home.
Lots of people are talking about climate change these days. In the political sphere, congress is working hard to pass bills that will ensure a safe future for our planet. The problem of global warming is a big one, so big that it often feels like there is nothing we can do to fix it. However, there are actually lots of things that we as individuals and communities can do! One of these things is working toward eliminating food waste.
So what is food waste?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an estimated 1/3 of all food produced globally goes to waste. Food waste specifically refers to perfectly good food that is thrown away. Some examples of food waste are
- Fresh fruits and vegetable that aren’t “perfect” in terms of shape, size, and/or color are often removed by the supplier during sorting
- Foods that are around their “best-before” date are often thrown away by consumers and retailers
- Large amounts of good, edible food are often leftover and thrown away from restaurants and household kitchens
Avoid these common problems by buying locally sourced food, composting in your kitchen, and not buying more than you need.
Why is eliminating food waste so important?
The UNFAO reports that eliminating food waste would lead to more efficient land use and better water resource management which have incredibly positive impacts on climate change. The carbon footprint of food waste is around 7% of all global emissions and more than 20% of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by activities related to food waste (according to the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research).
And the impacts of food waste aren’t just environmental. World Hunger is on the rise. In America, 42 million people face food insecurity every day. According to the National Resource Defense Council, if we were able to save just 15% of the food wasted every year, we’d have enough to feed 25 million Americans. Encourage your companies and local restaurants to partner with organizations that feed hungry people, so they can donate any uneaten food to people who need it.
Saving the earth is a big job, but if we all commit to making small changes, then together we will make an enormous impact.