The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has already determined that 33% of all food globally is wasted. That’s not news. What is news is what that wasted food is doing to the environment.
The FAO recently published a report that asserts that the carbon footprint of food produced and that is not consumed is estimated to 3.3 Gtonnes of CO2 equivalent, making food wastage rank as the third top emitter after USA and China.
The consumption of surface and groundwater resources of food wastage is about 250 km3 – equivalent to the annual water discharge of the Volga River. Produced but unconsumed food occupies almost 1.4 billion hectares of land, representing nearly 30% of the Earth’s agricultural land area.
The west tosses out the majority of food in the form of unwanted leftovers or because grocery stores don’t want to sell less than perfect looking produce. The FAO discovered that some farmers are forced to dump up to 40% of their harvest since it does not meet the cosmetic requirements of their retailers.
In sharp contrast, developing nations are forced to throw out the majority of food due to insufficient refrigeration and supply chains.
The FAO with 1 gigaton of food thrown out annually, $750 billion is being lost. The FAO director has stated emphatically that with 870 million people going hungry every single day, 33% of food can’t be thrown out merely due to inappropriate practices.