What’s the Link Between Food Waste and Climate Change?

Pop quiz: What percentage of the world’s food production winds up tossed into a landfill? The answer might shock you: According to research conducted by the World Wildlife Foundation, roughly one third of all food that we produce gets wasted.  That amounts to well over a billion tons of wasted food, every single year.

There are countless reasons why food waste is problematic, including several that we’ve written about in the past: Food waste clogs our landfills, it harms biodiversity, and it leads to an overuse of water and other natural resources.

And then there’s the question of climate. As we noted just recently, there is compelling evidence to suggest that food waste is a leading contributor to climate change. To quote a recent WasteXperts blog post, “Our landfills are a persistent source of climate-altering emissions. And all the food that we throw away plays an especially major role.”

Food Waste and Climate Change: What’s the Connection?

The link between food waste and climate change isn’t discussed nearly often enough, so we want to linger over it here. There are a number of important considerations:

●      When we waste food, we aren’t just wasting fruits and veggies, meat, and bread. We’re also wasting all of the energy required to grow, package, and transport the food.

●      Food that ends up in a landfill rots, producing methane gas. This is a greenhouse gas even more dangerous than CO2.

●      According to some estimates, as much as eight percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions could be stopped if we only cut back on food waste.

Clearly, discarding food waste is incredibly hazardous to the environment, with an outsized impact on climate in particular. But is there anything practical to be done about it?

Doing Our Part

The short answer is yes! There are pragmatic steps that all of us can take to help curb food waste and mediate our impact on climate. Some suggested action items from the WasteXperts team include:

●      Plan ahead. When you head to the grocery store without a meal plan and a shopping list, you tend to buy more than you really need. Entering the store with a more precise strategy can help you reduce waste.

●      Make use of your freezer. Frozen foods tend to last a lot longer, and they can be just as healthy and delicious. Consider using your freezer more frequently and more strategically, to curb food waste.

●      Blend and bake. Fruits and vegetables that are starting to look a little brown can still be perfectly edible and delicious, especially when blended or baked into smoothies, breads, jams, etc.

●      Be creative. You may be surprised by how many options you have for using leftover food. A simple online search may yield some incredible recipes or thoughtful strategies for using leftover items, as opposed to just tossing them out.

One more thing: Using an eco-conscious waste management company can yield solutions for your entire community. That’s where we come in. With any questions about sustainable recycling and waste management services, contact WasteXperts today!

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