Food the magic in life. It transforms sombre expressions into laughing notes. This combination of spices, herbs, vegetables, meat and grains creates magic either served hot or cold. Food is the thing which unites us, brings smile on our face and even makes a bed ridden person active and agile on his feet. Without food we can not think for hangouts with friends and living a life which is less lived by others. But do you know that daily metrics of ton of food is wasted. Why is it so, where does it go, how is it used and what effects does it have? So we have compiled up the Food Waste Facts.
Food Waste : A Brief Overview
All of us know that food is wasted. But do we know what is food wastage. According to the European Project FUSIONS “Food waste is any food, and inedible parts of food, removed from the food supply chain to be recovered or disposed” Which includes compost, crops ploughed in/not harvested, anaerobic digestion, bioenergy production, cogeneration, incineration, disposal to sewer, landfill or discarded to sea. The food wastage occurs at different stages in the food supply chain which are growers, processors, retailers and consumer. United Nations describes food wastage as decrease in the quantity of quality food.
Moreover, food wastage sometimes becomes a part of the food processing sector. As there are several parts and portions of vegetables and meat which cannot be eaten and have to be thrown away. Hence. Food wastage can sometimes an avoidable task but there are always some ways to either minimize it recycle it.
1.Food waste recycling | How to recycle food waste
Food waste recycling is one of the major step which is taken up by government and the local communities. Food recycling can help to produce various products of economic value. Production of bio-gas and bio-fertilizers are some of the main examples. To produce bio-fertilizers a method called ‘vessel composting’ is used. In which the food is shredded and made into mash. This mash is degraded for 2-4 weeks at temperatures around 70°C. After the degradation is complete it can be used in the field as manure.
Secondly, anaerobic microbes can be used to degrade to the food material. This anaerobic degradation releases “Biogas”. The reaction is carried out in large tanks which are made from cement and a constant agitator is used to mix the compost and release the gas. Pipelines can be used to transport this biogas to household for domestic purposes.
2.Impacts of food wastage| Food Waste Facts
There has been a huge impact of food waste on the environment. Most of the waste foods is dumped in the landfills. Now, we assume since the food waste is dumped it gets degraded. But the problem rises in the lower layers of the landfill where several reactions take place which release methane(CH4), which in turn increases global warming. According to an approximate 19million tonnes of greenhouse gas is released each year, which is equivalent to emissions by 30% cars in the United Kingdom.
Each bit of food that we waste not only increases the global warming but it has wide ranging effects. Let’s assume that a kilogram of food was wasted by the consumer, then going all the way back in the food supply chain. There would have been less of transport needed to transport that kilogram of food, which would save us fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. Now, before even it was transported it was processed. Hence all that energy would have been saved in processing that kilogram of food ranging from electricity, water, refrigeration and most important “labour hours”.
And even this was not enough before even processing it was produced in the farm. Think about the energy it would save to produce a kilogram of food. All the pesticides, fertilizers, insecticides, making up the field and less pressure in the farmer to produce more. Hence, all the problem in the food supply chain can be solved just by avoiding food wastage.
3.Which country wastes the most the food?
According to the statistics sub-Saharan African countries are wasting the most food. That is they only consume 1% of what of they produce.
4.What to do with food waste?
There are lot of things which can be done with food wastage. Because most the times we throw food even when it is in eatable condition. The first option is that we not at all do food wastage or try to reduce the waste food by analysing the critical points and correcting them. The analysis of critical points will help to know that where is the loss, taking place e.g. it might be transportation due to lack of refrigerated vans.
Secondly, whatever the food is left, it should be put to work in feeding the people. Millions of people sleep hungry in India and in many other countries. Hence organisations or NGO’s should take up this work of distributing the leftover food in homes, marriages, social gatherings and distribute them amongst the poor and hungry ones.
Related Read: Utilization Of By-Products In Food Processing Industries
Next step is by feeding your livestock. There has been a long trend which continues today of “Doggie Pack”. Usually people did this when they went to a place to eat but could not finish the whole portion. But there is only small amount of food is left, so they mix the curry’s and bread and get it packed for their dog back at home.
Fourth and the for-most step is recycling that waste food for bio-fertilizers and bio-gas. This step involves a lot of inputs in terms of money and co-operation. Since you cannot establish a bio-gas plant for a five kilogram of food waste that you produce at home level.
And at last option when we are exhausted of all the above is landfill or disposal. We should avoid landfill whenever and where ever possible because they only add upon the environmental problems.
5.Causes of food wastage
Food is being wasted throughout the food supply chain whether it be the production, processing or packaging. In medium and high-income countries food is being wasted even if it is suitable to eat, which means that a lot of wastage is done on the consumer end. Whereas in low income countries it is a totally different scenario. The food in sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia, North Africa gets deteriorated at the production stage only, it does not even reach the consumer.
Food Waste Facts Video
Choudhury, M.L. 2006. Recent developments in reducing postharvest losses in the Asia-Pacific region. From: Postharvest management of fruit and vegetables in the Asia-Pacific region, APO, ISBN: 92-833-7051-1