Food wastage is a growing global crisis that is affecting the physical health of the earth and the population inhabiting the entire planet. Recent estimates postulate that food wasted in developed countries; like Europe and the United States can feed the whole continent in more than three times. Two out of 8 children in the United States live in homes that cannot access enough food. Food wastage is a serious environmental concern facing the whole continent. To determine the way out of this disaster is not easy. There is a need for sacrifice and co-operation from various agencies to address this issue. This paper focuses on food wastage by discussing how food is wasted and how it can be avoided. The article “Food Waste not, Want not is not an easy is also used in the discussion.
The article “Food: Waste not, Want not” discusses the global problem of food wastes. The figures pertaining to food waste all over the world amount to about 1.3 billion tons per year. This is an alarming figure which denotes how much food is wasted despite wide spread food shortage. All countries have the almost equal share on this food waste. They only differ on the source of food waste. Rich countries throw away food either because of rejection or because of household wastes. On the other hand, developing countries lose their food because they do not have the equipment and resources for improving their crops and preserving its freshness. Also, climate change is taking its toll on the food products.
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Food waste is defined as the food loss during retail and final consumption. Food wastes only refer to foods for human consumption. It also includes food for human consumption, which went out of the human food chain ( Meybeck et al., 2011). These are the foods thrown away even if they are still fit for human consumption. Statistics show that one third of the total food produced is being wasted from the production up to consumption. Studies show that there is remarkable vegetable and fruit losses in industrialized countries due to standards set by retailers. Severe losses were observed during post harvest and distribution of products on developing countries (Meybeck et al., 2011). What is worse is the fact that people throw food away even if it remains unopened. Also, consumers tend to prepare more than they can consume and this contributes to more food wastes. Wasted food equated wasted money. Much money is spent on food not eaten. Everyone is guilty of wasting food without knowing the effects and consequences of it. Studies showed that older people waste more food than children (Ventour, 2008).
Consumers waste food because of cooking leftovers, eating leftovers, expired food and moldy food. A person’s lifestyle and household size are just some of the contributing factors to food wastage. One way of addressing this problem is by informing the citizens of the waste they produce. This way, farmers, retailers and consumers will be aware of the situation and take necessary actions to prevent it. One way of informing the consumers is by providing proper and reliable food labels. They can use the labels in deciding which product to buy. This can help prevent food wastes because the food is not consumed on time. Necessary policies should be made and constant monitoring of food wastes implemented. This way the progress of food wastage can be easily monitored (European Commission, 2010).
In the supermarkets of larger countries, foods are rejected merely because of the appearance. Meanwhile, smaller countries with small-scale food businesses have a hard time storing and marketing their comparatively substandard crops. Developing countries lack resistant seeds and contend with unbearable weather. With all these problems arising, governments should create their own strategies. The United Nations Development Program launched a project to aid the communities who have problems with equipments and those who lack necessary equipments. Through this project, farmers were able to increase their profit significantly. It also opened more opportunities for them to market their products. Non-government organizations also took part in solving food wastes. They created cooling chambers to store their products. To avoid food wastage, it is crucial to encourage farmers to engage in direct selling of their products. Those that are not sold can be kept for Sundays on discounted prices. If there are still unsold products, they can be used as a fertilizer. Through this, no food will be wasted. Also, this could create a room for products which are rejected by supermarkets. This could also help households lessen their leftovers because they can sell them just exactly what they need instead of what they can consume. There are a lot of people starving and this not the right time to waste food. This practice must be stopped or else we would suffer in a world where there is no enough food.
I was surprised when I read this article. I did not know that there is such a huge food waste in the world. All this time, many people and organizations are taking actions in feeding others who do not have enough food resources only to know that a lot of food is wasted. Reports show the amount of food wasted is shocking and is almost equal in all countries. This gave me a bad notion that even the poorest countries do waste food. Personally, I am strongly against wasting food as a consumer, I only get what I know I can eat. Even if I feel full already, I still try to finish every food in my plate. I do not understand some people who waste food just like that. Food is one of the basic necessities in life and people work hard to produce it. It is not right to throw it. People should be mindful of how they purchase and consume food to prevent leftovers. I agree that to achieve this, they should be informed of the causes and effects of food wastes.
According to studies, only 40% of foods produced reach the consumption stage which suggests that not only leftover foods comprise the food wastes (Cotterman, 2009). If food is wasted despite the huge number of starving people, this means that the supply is more than enough but the access is lacking. Also, promos for wholesale products contribute to food wastes. Buyers are attracted to great discounts they can acquire if they buy products packed in larger quantity. What they do not realize is that they are just wasting their money for foods they cannot consume. Packing food is beneficial because it prevents food spoilage. The problem with largely packaged food can be solved by preparing food in small packages. A study showed that preparing food in small packages does not lessen food wastes (Koivupuro, 2011).
I believe that reducing the quantity of purchased food could prevent or lessen food wastage. Moreover, food wastes must be lessened as soon as possible because it emits greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming. A study showed that the greenhouse gases emitted by food wastes on the different stages of supply and consumption are very significant. According to figures, beef and vegetables emit the most greenhouse gases among the avoidable food wastes (Venkat, 2012). This climate change strikes back on farmers and food producers which is why they can only produce substandard crops. Food wastes also have effects on the communities. Consumers tend to dispose their food in sinks. It posts problems on sewers, especially with oils which can block drains. Food wasted in waste streams create additional problems in treating water and in disposing of biosolid wastes. It not only affects the sewage system, it also costs more to government spending in maintaining sewage.
How to solve the problem of food wastage
This problem is easy to solve. It only takes discipline and knowledge on the side of the consumers and producers to prevent and lessen food wastes. An organized food waste management practices can be used to prevent food wastes. Reduce Reuse Recycle scheme can be applied in food wastes. The source of food wastes must be reduced. Again, people should only buy food they can consume. Also, producers should also farm foods they can sell. Reuse can also be very effective. Leftovers can be reused in different dishes. Excess food can also be donated to those who lack. Also food can be recycled and be used as soil composite (LeanPath, 2008). This can also serve as fertilizers which farmers can utilize in improving the quality of their crops. In UAE, food waste disposers are becoming a trend in solving food wastes problems. Food waste disposers use electricity and water to liquefy food wastes from household sinks so that it can freely flow down the sewage. Food waste disposers are also used in other countries such as Australia and Japan. I’ve also read a study in which food wastes are used industrially. It was concluded that food wastes can be utilized in anaerobic digesters to produce more energy from biogas (Finsterwalder Umwelttechnik, 2006). This provided another way of recycling food.
UAE had also been producing food wastes which accounts for 50% of the countries solid wastes. If we deeply think about it, food wastes should not be a problem and should never be a problem. We have an abundant food resource and we should never abuse it. Foods are biodegradable, which is why I got confused on the existence of such wastes. The problem can be solved by the wasters themselves and all of us are guilty. Now, I believe that the problem is still bearable but we should not wait for the time when the problem can no longer be sorted out. Government and Non-government organizations are making ways to prevent and lessen the problem but this will have no effect unless the citizens take part in it. We should all start with the little way we can contribute.
Having in mind all the food wastes we produce, shall be enough to motivate us to lessen our own waste. If this will be successfully implemented, it will not only benefit the country and the environment but also the citizens.
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