Food Waste Problems You Should Know

Food Loss

Do you know what happens to the food that is not bought in the supermarket? Or what happens to the fresh food that is left unused in the restaurant after one day? Well, the answer is the food is often thrown away, they are considered food waste. These food waste are causing some major problems in the world today. Food waste problems are problems that many countries face and it is becoming one of the biggest issues. So what exactly are the food waste problems? Are there solutions to these food waste problems? Keep on reading to find out more and see what you can do to help.

What is Food Waste

Before we jump into food waste problems, let’s make sure we all understand what food waste means. Depending on where you live, there might be a different official definition of food waste. Food waste is part of the food loss system, however, food waste and food loss is somewhat different.

It is important to focus on the word waste in food waste, that the food is wasted due to overproduction, overstock or other mismanagement that causes the food to be discarded, while the food is perfectly fine to be consumed. Oftentimes happens at the retail stage, such as supermarkets or restaurants with too much food. But food waste is not exclusive to retails, it can happen at one’s house too. While food loss is more the idea that food is discarded due to the fact that it might be unfit for human consumption which is regulated by local laws and regulations.

If you are interested in understanding more about food loss, here is the perfect article for you, Reducing Food Loss Can Be Life-Changing.

Food Waste Problems

Food waste in landfill
Now that we know what food waste means let’s take a look at the food waste problems. There are many food waste problems and these problems can affect all of us.

Food Waste vs. Malnutrition

Roughly 1.3 billion tons of food is reportedly wasted globally each year — even as more than 800 million people worldwide continue to suffer from malnutrition.

There are millions of people all over the world struggling to have food security, yet we waste kilos and kilos of food everyday that are perfectly edible.

Wasteful Energy

The fact that so much food waste is produced is a huge problem which leads to another problem, the wasting of the energy needed to produce food. Imagine spending tons of money and energy on producing 10 kg of food only to have more than half thrown away, how wasteful. This is extremely unsustainable and inefficient.

Trash Pollution

Another big food waste problem is that these discarded foods all end up in landfills. The food that ends up in landfills can cause a serious problem. One would assume that food waste in landfills would decompose and will turn into soil, however, that is not true. The food is often piled on with other waste covering it, with all the heat from the sun and trapped with no air, the food actually produces methane. Methane is also known as one of the greenhouse gases which is extremely harmful to the environment. Food waste in landfills is a huge problem, especially with the climate issue that is happening right now.

Food Waste Problems and Solution

Restaurants wasting food
These food waste problems definitely have some solutions that we can all help. As individuals, we can reduce the amount of food waste we personally produce, meaning, don’t overstock on food, buy only what you need and things you know you will finish. If you can compost your own food waste that is the best way, or take them to your local compost center. While these are some steps we can take to reduce our individual food waste.

It is important that the government and industry take actions too. For example, in the United States, the expiration date is a confusing system for many people since it is not a unify system. Having a clear set rule of the expiration date and so on for food. For the industry to stop overstocking or figure out a system to reduce the food being discarded. Also, support organizations that help recover food and avoid them from being discarded. Or support laws that would encourage the industry to reduce food waste.
These are just some of the few food waste solutions.

Let’s Make a Difference

To answer the initial questions, the food is often discarded and becomes food waste. Food waste is a global problem and we all need to get together and do something about it. We are all capable of making a difference for future generations. It is easy, just being more conscious of how much food you are buying and keeping track of the food, also properly discard them so that they don’t create more problems in the future. These food waste problems are getting bigger and we need to start taking action now!

Here is a great article about all about food waste and how to upcycle to solve these food waste problems.



Resources:
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2019/05/26/editorials/addressing-nations-food-waste-problem/#:~:text=Food%20waste%20is%20an%20increasingly,capita%20food%20waste%20by%202030.
               
Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!