Food Waste 101

Approximately, one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. That amounts to about 1.3 billion tonnes every year. At the same time, nearly a billion people worldwide are struggling with hunger and malnutrition.

When we needlessly throw good food into landfill, not only do we ignore the struggle of those fighting against hunger but we often overlook the environmental implications. When food rots in landfill, it gives off a greenhouse gas called methane. This methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than the carbon pollution from car exhaust fumes.

Stefen Chow/The Poverty Line

Stefen Chow/The Poverty Line

When we throw away food, we also waste the huge amounts of resources that were involved in getting the food from “field to fork”. This includes the energy, water and packaging used in production, processing, storage, refrigeration, transportation and cooking.

Of course, not all wasted food is fit for consumption. But tens of millions of tonnes of safe edible fresh food and groceries are discarded every year due to changed labelling regulations, end of season excess stock, production line changeover items, out-dated packaging, discontinued product, as well as slight label or weight inaccuracies.

For food that does need to be discarded, landfill is not the only option. There are many more sustainable means of dealing with food waste such as conversion into animal feed, fertiliser and bio-fuel.

Click here to find out more about food waste in Hong Kong.

Did you know?

Developed and developing countries actually waste about the same amount of food (670 and 630 million tonnes, respectively). The difference is at what level in the food supply chain the waste occurs. In developed countries, the highest volume of waste is at the retail and consumer level; in developing countries it occurs mostly at the post-harvest and processing level due to limitations in transit, storage and processing.

Click here for more facts and figures.

 

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