Living in an environmentally sound and friendly world is not just about saving energy and water, or about reducing emissions – but rather, about reducing our overall carbon footprint on the planet. In today’s society an increasingly identifiable waste problem occurs in the food industry which, because of its massive scale and the wasteful habits of consumers, uses vast resources – such as water, energy and other raw materials – in production, processing and disposal. It is estimated that food production is responsible for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world. For example, it takes 25 000 litres of water to produce 1 pound of beef.
Meanwhile, people in developed societies continually waste more food and the problem is that it has become such a common place occurrence that they seldom think about the impact that their habits have on the planet. At the forefront of the problem are the developed countries where food is not an issue because everything can be easily and cheaply replaced. According to estimates, the food wasted by U.S. residents alone could feed two billion people – so the next time we throw away an apple because it has a small black spot or a yogurt which expires tomorrow, let us first think about the millions of people around the world who suffer from hunger. No, we can’t send them the item, but perhaps we should have enough respect for their plight not to waste a perfectly good and edible item by throwing it in the trash.
Of course, in addition to wasting food by the consumers themselves there are the losses that occur in the transport, distribution and catering industries. Social mentality first needs to change, however, before we can address production flaws and infrastructural problems that are linked to this type of food waste.
In order to live in harmony with nature, we must also think about the problem of food waste and how we can prevent it from happening in our own household. First of all, we should make purchases in accordance with a pre-planned list as opposed to throwing into the cart anything that appeals to us during shopping. Spot marketing is tremendously successful and multibillion dollar corporations invest massive amounts of energy and financial resources to tempt you into buying their products. In addition, it is also beneficial to shop more often and to buy fewer items at a time, thereby reducing their shelf life and eliminating the risk of food going bad. Extremely important is also the need for proper storage and food preservation.