Quantcast

One-Third of Food Wasted Globally Each Year

Food

Earth Day Network

Global food waste is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any country except for China and the U.S., according to a new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The report, Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources, estimates that about one-third of all food—1.3 billion tons—is wasted every year.

foodART

Of course, the production of this food requires energy, water, chemicals and land. This means that almost 30 percent of the world’s farmland is entirely wasted—1.4 billion hectares of land per year in total—as well as 250 cubic kilometers of water, the equivalent of the annual discharge of the River Volga in Europe. According to the report, the carbon footprint of wasted food is about 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year—more than any country, aside from China and the U.S. The wasted food costs approximately $750 billion a year.

The food wastage problem is a complicated one. In developed countries, most of the waste comes from consumers buying too much food and throwing away what they don’t eat. In less developed countries, food waste often comes from inefficient farming and inadequate storage facilities.

The report makes several suggestions about how to reduce food waste. First, improved communication between producers and consumers could result in more efficient supply chains. Better harvesting, packaging and shipping methods could also help to reduce food waste.

While these improvements can certainly make a difference, the solution—at least for the industrialized world—ultimately lies with individuals. We must develop a greater awareness about the foods that we consume, the effect that those foods have on the environment and the amount that we are needlessly wasting. We must actively seek to eat more sustainable foods and make an effort to buy and consume only what we need.

Visit EcoWatch’s SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Plastic waste that started as packaging clogs tropical landfills. apomares / iStock / Getty Images

By Clyde Eiríkur Hull and Eric Williams

Countries around the world throw away millions of tons of plastic trash every year. Finding ways to manage plastic waste is daunting even for wealthy nations, but for smaller and less-developed countries it can be overwhelming.

Read More
Pexels

By Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD

In recent years, functional foods have gained popularity within health and wellness circles.

Read More
Sponsored
Despite fierce opposition from local homeowners, a section of the SUNOCO Mariner II East Pipeline cuts through a residential neighborhood of Exton, PA. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

To celebrate the 50th birthday of one of America's most important environmental laws, President Trump has decided to make a mockery out of it.

Read More
With well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage. An economist from the University of Michigan Energy Institute says that is likely to change. Maskot / Getty Images

In 2018, there were about 5 million electric cars on the road globally. It sounds like a large number, but with well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage.

Read More
Nestlé is accelerating its efforts to bring functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions to the market and to address the global challenge of plastic packaging waste. Nestlé / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Nestlé, the world's largest food company, said it will invest up to $2 billion to address the plastic waste crisis that it is largely responsible for.

Read More