Food wastage in 2019 was roughly equal to 23 million fully loaded 40-ton trucks, according to a United Nations study.
According to a study published by the United Nations, 17 percent of the food available to consumers, or 931 million metric tonnes (1.03 billion tonnes), was wasted in homes, retail stores and restaurants in 2019 .
The report, produced jointly by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and WRAP, a non-profit organization, also found that consumer waste was broadly similar in rich and poor countries.
The United Nations is producing a Food Waste Index (FWI) as it seeks to support efforts to halve food waste by 2030.
“For a long time, it was assumed that food waste in the home was only a big problem in developed countries,” said Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP, which works with governments to reduce food waste.
“With the release of the Food Waste Index report, we see that things are not so clear.”
The food wasted in 2019 was roughly equal to 23 million fully loaded 40-ton trucks – bumper to bumper enough to circle the earth seven times. Most waste – 61% – occurs in households, while foodservice accounts for 26% and retailers 13%, according to the UN.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated in 2011 that a third of the world’s food was wasted or lost each year.
The FAO has produced a Food Loss Index which shows that about 14 percent of the world’s food is lost after harvest to the retail level, but excluding.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that a family of four wastes about $ 1,500 on food each year. But it is difficult to accurately measure food waste for a variety of reasons, including the availability of data, USDA food researcher Jean Buzby said, adding that improving the measures was part of a government plan to reduce waste.
It is estimated that 8-10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with uneaten food (waste and loss), an amount similar to road transport.
Forests are cleared, fuel is burned, and packaging is produced to provide food that is thrown away. Meanwhile, rotten food in landfills releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
“If we are to take the fight against climate change, the loss of nature and biodiversity, as well as pollution and waste seriously, businesses, governments and citizens around the world must do their part to reduce food waste ”Said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.
Food waste has become a growing concern due to the environmental cost of production, including the land needed to raise crops and animals and the greenhouse gas emissions produced along the way.
Experts say better waste tracking is key to finding ways to alleviate the problem, such as programs to divert inedible waste for use as animal feed or fertilizer.
Richard Swannell, co-author of the UN report, said food was generally enjoyed more, even in wealthier countries just a few generations ago, as people often couldn’t afford to waste it. . Now, he said, awareness of the extent of food waste around the world could help bring attitudes back to this era.
“Food is too important to waste,” he said.