Food Waste: A Growing Issue

You would think that food waste would be a lesser problem when it comes to issues surrounding the environment but unfortunately that is not the case. Every year developed countries waste over 200 millions tons of food which is equal to about how much food is produced by places like sub-Saharan Africa. In the US alone each person wastes about 20 pounds of food on average per month. On a base level this seems like it may not be a major issue but this also has several environmental consequences.

These mass amounts of food waste doesn't just degrade when it goes to the many land fills across the world they also release enormous amounts of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. It is estimated that the carbon dioxide emission from uneaten food (without considering land used to
produce food) is about 3.3 billion tons. So, food wastage ranks pretty high up there in terms of total emission. Then when you include the 1.4 billion hectares of land that is used to produce this uneaten food you find that these numbers continue to grow. But luckily there are a few ways that we can all cut down our own person food waste.

Some of these ways include freezing more foods as well as making large meals that can be segmented and frozen like soups or vegetables. Even though storing foods in the freezer can slightly alter texture and taste it can help when trying to hold on to leftovers made for daily meals. Also, don't always throw out food that is past it's best by date because these dates are not hard and fast rules as to when something may go bad. You can usually tell by smell or appearance as to whether something has gone bad or not but if you are not sure you can use sites like USDA.gov or StillTasy.com to help.


You can also help to support different organizations or get your local government to support legislation to help cut down on food waste or greenhouse gases from food waste. Charities are a good example of organizations to support because many of them take in food donated from retailers or even farmers. As an example of helpful legislation there have been places like Australia that are looking into ways to separate solid waste from food waste in landfills and by doing so significantly reduce methane emissions.  


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