It is estimated that one-third of all the food produced globally goes to waste. This results in about 1.3 billion tons of vegetables, meat, fruits, dairy, grains, and seafood that either never leave the farm, get lost during distribution, or are discarded in grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, home kitchens, or schools. The discarded food around the world could be enough to feed every malnourished person on this entire planet.
However, food waste is not just a humanitarian or social concern. It’s connected with environmental problems too. Food wastage leads to waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, during harvest, while transporting and packaging it. Subsequently, any food that is discarded in landfills leads to the production of methane; which is a greenhouse gas known to be more potent than carbon dioxide. It was estimated that about 11% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the food system, and this could be limited by reducing food wastage in the environment. In the US, wasted food generates almost the equivalent of 37 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions.
The world’s population continues to soar in numbers. We should focus more on not producing more food but feeding more people from the food produced. Several actions can be taken at the consumer level to mitigate this problem. To keep inedible scraps out of landfills, leftovers should be channeled to those in need, smart shopping, and food freezing can also help to curb our emissions problems.
WAYS TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE AND GLOBAL WARMING
Buy Only What You Need: When you go to shop on an empty stomach, it can keep you out of plan and lead you to buying more than what is needed. To keep your kitchen on track, try consuming leftovers and avoid unnecessary spending by planning your shopping list ahead of time.
Preserver Leftovers in your Freezer: We know there are plenty of benefits to eating fresh food, but frozen foods can be just as nutritious. They also stay edible for much longer. A lot of seafood, for example, is frozen before it reaches your supermarket and then thawed and put on display. That means it will only stay fresh for a few days. By buying frozen seafood, you can extend the shelf life of the product considerably. Cooking and freezing food—especially produce—before it goes bad is a great way to avoid having to toss it.
Make Smoothies: When fruits and vegetables are overripe, they may not look pretty. Although that does not mean they can’t still taste delicious in recipes. Try using your browning, wilting, or imperfect produce for making sweet smoothies, sauces, soup stocks, bread or jams.
Take Responsibility: Food wastage limitation is the most effective way to reduce its effect on the environment we live in. Avoiding the production of food that we don’t consume can help us can save the land, water, and energy that could have been used in making the food. We need to create an awareness campaign to spread this vital information; according to ReFED, educating consumers about food waste could prevent 2.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
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