Get prepared for the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste
News From the world
26 september '22
Reading time: 4 minutes
As the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is fast approaching, every one of us should take a break and reflect on what’s going on in our food system. Do you know how much food is lost and how does it contribute to climate change? Let's find out.
Words by Eszter Gurbicz
Hunger and food loss are some of the most pressing social and environmental issues of our time. As the number of people who experience hunger in the world is increasing, and yet we produce tons of food waste every day, it is more important than ever to address such problems.
This year will be the third time the 29th of September marks the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. The dedicated day for food loss and waste was created in December 2019 by the UN General Assembly, whose aim was to bring the world closer to achieve responsible consumption and production. This day is a great opportunity to remind us the importance of tackling food related issues and to push innovation and sustainable practices that can help achieve a much more resilient food system.
What's going on?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, 14% of the world's food is lost after harvest. Additionally, 17% is wasted in retail and at the consumption level. What makes the waste even worse is the fact that there is a huge number of people worldwide - 3.1 billion - who do not have access to a healthy diet. At the same time, 828 million people suffer from hunger.
Food loss and waste also contribute to global warming by accounting for 8 – 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. This is mainly created through processing, packaging and transport. The food which consumers dispose of also produces methane while rotting, which is a potent greenhouse gas. All of these emissions then contribute to climate change, leading to further loss of crops, loss of their nutritional value, and bring on an overall disruption in the supply chain. Therefore, reducing food loss is of vital importance for us and our planet.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation set the following points as the key message of September 29:
- As the world's population is growing and requiring an increasing amount of food, we need to maximise the use of what we already have.
- Reducing food loss and waste will lead to a more sustainable food system, with more attention to natural resources, environmental impact and proper nutrition.
- Cutting food loss and waste will lead to positive changes in our climate.
- We should utilise technology and innovation in the food supply chain so we can increase efficiency and reduce waste and emissions.
- Food is never waste! – it can be re-used as compost, or to produce biogas.
- Governments and individuals can all work together to create a system that can reduce food waste.
What you can do
Spread awareness. The most urgent action you can take is to educate yourself and the others on the issue, which will spread awareness. Letting people know about the day and educating them will lead to a society more sensitised to the problem.
Do not waste food. Learn how to maximise the food you have and how to build a circular process with it. Follow our column Turn It Sustainable With Our Tips to learn more!
Join a campaign. Taking part in events organised as part of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, or any other campaigns focusing on the issue, will take you closer to a much more responsible behaviour towards food.
The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is an opportunity for all of us to take action and move towards a more sustainable way of living. By cutting food loss and waste it is possible to reduce poverty and hunger in the world, while such changes would also benefit the environment and help fight climate change. For all these reasons, we should all pay more attention to our food consumption and be mindful about our waste – but not only on the 29th of September, but all year around.