Food waste: The impact on society and environment… and what you can do against it
Can you imagine 931 million tons of food?
That's equal 23 million fully loaded 40-tonne trucks front-to-back. Enough to circle around the earth 7 times.
This is the quantity of food waste generated in 2019. More than a half of it, 568 tonnes, are produced by households, according to the UNEP Food Waste Index 2021.
On the other side of the medal, the number of people facing poverty and hunger is rising. Last year alone, up to 811 million people in the world faced malnourishment and 2,37 billion people were left without food or unable to eat a healthy, balanced diet on a regular basis.
On the September 29th, the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste calls public goverments, local municipalities, as well private business and each of us individually to action, to prioritise actions and move ahead with innovation to reduce food loss and waste towards restoring and building back better and resilient food systems.
Food waste impacts not only society, but also environment. 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are related to non-consumed food. When food is lost or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce this food - including water, land, energy, labour and capital - go to waste. In addition, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills, leads to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.
How you can make an impact? Check out this article about ``15 quick tips for reducing food waste and becoming a Food hero`` by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.
Find clever ways to tackle food waste through these impact solutions of WSA and WSA European Young Innovators Alumni:
WSA Winner 2016
Through Too Good To Go app and their website, you can order food from local restaurants, cafes and bakeries, and collect it up to an hour before closing time. TGTG mission is to save food, save money and save the planet by placing the lost value back onto food as humankind’s most valuable energy resource, and not something that should just be carelessly throw in the bin.
WSA Winner 2014
FoodLoop offers the first consumer app with a backend tied to retailers’ Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP), reducing food waste of perishable items close to their “best before date” (BBD). Using its B2B2C platform to inform consumers in real time on mobiles about products on sale. Furthermore, this app adds social value by donating part of its revenue to charities.
WSA Winner 2018
yonodesperdicio is the first collaborative consumption web and mobile app to reduce food waste within Spanish households. It includes an awareness-raising component to explain how food waste and the current unsustainable food system affect the fight against hunger and the right to food. Above all, yonodesperdicio is a community of people helping reduce household food waste with simple gestures. The platform also makes it easy to share tips and recipes or create a contact network to ensure food sharing.
WSA European Young Innovator 2018
Food+x is a blockchain powered platform built onto existing businesses to reduce food waste, by enabling quick, safe and transparent distribution of surplus food through the first decentralized ecosystem for waste reduction. It currently involves 120 leading European retailers, distributors, manufacturers and Horeca organisations.
The project is comprised of the Food+x platform, which strategically matches sellers and buyers of surplus food, Robin Food Stores, which provide public access to quality food that would otherwise end up as waste at discounted prices, and the Robin Food Bank, which collaborates with charities to donate food to needy people.