As I see it, waste is one of the largest threats to our food supply. I’m not alone there, as the recent State of the World 2011 report warned about waste. As hunger persists, reducing waste and improving (re)distribution are vital. And as the global population inches toward 7 billion, we need to be more efficient with what we grow to ensure that all are fed.
Food waste also has a significant environmental impact. Agriculture is a real resource hog. A massive amount of oil goes into growing, harvesting, processing, shipping and cooling our food. At least 2% of all U.S. energy consumption goes to produce food that is thrown away. And agriculture represents about 80 percent of all water consumption.
To invest all of those resources in producing food that we then freely waste is a real shame. Yet, waste we do. We squander about 40 percent of our food. Our wasting is on the rise, as it has increased 50 percent since 1974.
And that waste has a double impact. In addition the aforementioned squandered resources, food that rots in a landfill emits methane, a greenhouse gas more than 20 times as potent at trapping heat. We’re aiding climate change through our trash cans.
Image from http://www.eatwell.in/