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Thursday, February 9, 2023
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Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    Food waste causes, effects and solutions

    Mitali Gautam

    ANN/THE STATESMAN – Every living being needs food to survive. Although the world produces enough food to feed everyone, the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme estimates that 815 million people still go hungry. This is entirely due to the fact that we throw out nearly 1.6 billion tonnes of food annually. Food waste occurs at farms, in transit, supermarkets and restaurants, and even at homes. Humans eat more than they actually require to live.

    A large quantity of food ends up in the garbage as food waste, whether it is leftovers stashed in the back of the fridge or extra groceries that have expired in your kitchen. Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are of the view that by reversing the trend, we can feed two billion people worldwide.

    As we know, wasting food is in effect wastage of the natural resources used for producing it.

    Therefore, reducing food waste will also benefit the environment.

    Following are some of the concerns arising from food waste:


    A major part of the food waste is disposed of in landfills, where it decomposes and contributes to climate change by emitting methane and carbon dioxide. Nearly a quarter of all methane emissions worldwide is caused by the food waste in landfills. The food that is decomposed and kept out of landfills helps protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


    While damaging the environment, food waste costs consumers, businesses, and taxpayers dearly. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimated that between 125 and 160 billion tonnes of food, about one-third of food produced for human consumption, is wasted globally each year. This food waste results in even greater financial costs than are necessary to feed the world’s hungry.


    The quantity of safe edible food wasted globally is rising even as millions of families worry about how they will feed their children. Just a 15-per-cent reduction in food waste would be sufficient to feed 25 million people. It will be advisable to donate unfinished food to food banks to help the hungry instead of throwing it away.


    1. Switch to a more sustainable and healthy diet

    We should eat good, wholesome meals, but they don’t have to be complicated. The Internet has quick, healthy recipes that can be made with fewer ingredients and shared with our family and friends. So altogether less food would be wasted as a result.

    2. Buy only what you need

    Plan your meals. Create a shopping list and stick to it to avoid making impulse purchases. You won’t just waste less food, but you’ll also save money as a result.

    3. Select undesirable produce and fruits

    Don’t judge foods based on how they appear. Irregularly shaped or damaged fruits and vegetables are frequently discarded because they don’t match consumer expectations, yet consuming them can help to reduce food waste. Also, use mature fruits in sweets, drinks,
    and smoothies.

    4. Use proper food storage

    Place the more important items in the front of your refrigerator or cabinet and the newer items in the back. Open food must be stored in airtight containers to stay fresh in the refrigerator, and assortments must be sealed to keep bugs out.

    5. Understand food labels

    The difference between “use-by” and “best before” dates is substantial. The “use-by” date indicates when food is no longer safe to consume, but sometimes food is still okay to eat after the “best before” date. Avoid foods with added sugar or salt and read food labels carefully for potentially dangerous ingredients like trans fats and preservatives.

    6. Take your container to restaurants

    If you can’t finish your meal in a restaurant, don’t hesitate to fill your container. It will prevent both financial loss and food waste.

    7. Connect with a NGO while you host a party

    Even though food waste is fairly typical at weddings and celebrations, proper planning for food waste is always suggested. Instruct your caterers to prepare the food under the guest list, but if there are any leftovers, contact an non-governmental organisation (NGO) that may distribute the meals to the underprivileged.

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