Tag Archives: food waste

How Big is Food Waste?

Food Waste is the food which is produced  but not eaten, because it is either lost or discarded.

Meat Loss Infographic

Shockingly the meat lost (and the greenhouse gas has still been produced) is equivalent to 75 million cattle a year. This information is that of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation from 2013. Although there may have been some change given the efforts that have been made, I am sure the figures are still substantially as shocking as they were then.

The picture for other products is just as bad – you can click the images to reach the infographic online, where it is more legible.

fao-food-waste-campaign-201301_jpg_2-040x1-525_pixels

 

 

 

Tired of “One Third of All Food Produced is Lost or Wasted”

Its true that “One Third of All Food Produced is Lost or Wasted” but it does get a bit boring when we hear it over and over along with a means of reducing it which is simple and obvious. This is made worse by the fact that these means of reducing loss are often very daunting and require actions that you have little effect on.

click the image to visit the website

This CTA briefing paper does a good job of summarizing the various places and ways in which these losses can be addressed. It for example shows that consumers in upper income communities need to take care of their actions and reduce losses – something that's hard for the individual to impact on and where no progress is evident. But we should all keep enthusiastic about it and do whatever we can to reduce waste even if our little effort is not going to be significant on its own.

As a Food Processor, a way of looking at this and keeping up the enthusiasm is to see the other benefits of saving food, which are not always considered. Whatever you do to reduce losses in you plant doesn't only reduce losses of food it

  • Reduces agricultural input usage
  • Increases sustainability of you business
  • Saves you money, when the action required (as is often the case) does not require extra cost
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduction in water and energy consumption

 

Freegans

Freegans are anti-consumerist individuals employ alternative living strategies based on “limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources.

Amongst other they salvage discarded but unspoiled food that has passed its best by date, as a political statement not because they are poor or homeless.

This seems a very weird and almost humourous concept, but this site used it to link to the major food wastage problem in the UK.

 

Bringing an end to the food waste shame.jpg

from: FoodNavigator
(click image for full story online)

 

Some quotable extracts from this webpage:

    • “It is estimated that one third of all waste going to landfill comes from the food sector, and one quarter of this could have been consumed.”

    • “It showed that UK consumers are throwing away a total of £10bn worth of food each year. It said that the widespread concern about soaring food prices “sits awkwardly” alongside proof that consumers dispose of 6.7m tonnes of food waste each year, 4.1m tonnes of which could have been eaten. This equates to £420 per household every year.”
    • “Redistribution schemes such as FareShare can help reduce the 1.6m tonnes coming from retailers. This UK charity offers tailored solutions to the food industry by taking companies’ surplus and waste and distributing the edible food through a community network of over 500 organisations that help disadvantaged people.
      Last year, FareShare helped save 2,000 tonnes of edible food from landfill, providing meals for 3.3m people. This in turn meant 13,000 tonnes less carbon dioxide was emitted into the environment.”

Some of our previous posts linked to food waste:

WASTE – Food, Energy, Water & Time
Mali’s Mangos
One Million Tubs of Yoghurt
Biofuels From Waste

Food Industry – Biogas

Energy and Food Waste are becoming major issues in Africa at present, with warning of dire consequences if the existing trends continue. One technology that sits at the intersection of these sectors is the treatment of processing waste using anaerobic digestion – or biogas.

Biogas is a simple process that is used at household level by millions and is increasingly being used in Europe as part of the sustainable energy drive.

Any organic waste can be fermented in simple ambient reactors over a long period, producing a combustible mixture of gasses consisting mainly of CO2 and Methane. Environmentally, burning Methane is beneficial because it has a hothouse effect some 14 times that of CO2 and is often naturally released by fermenting waste.

The liquid remaining after fermentation is stable and not noxious, even if the waste fed to the process are eg human waste and can be used as a fertiliser.

In household processes gas is used for direct heating and lighting, while in industrial applications is can generate electricity which can be sold to the grid.

There has recently been news of a commercial approach in Canada

Food firms set to benefit from biogas boom.jpg

Food Production

Ontario-based StormFisher Biogas is forming partnerships with North American food and drinks firms to allow it to use the organic by-products of farming and food processing operations to produce and sell renewable energy.

“Food processors typically send their by-products to landfills or compost sites. Since we are able to extract more value from these by-products by using the energy they create, we are able to charge a lower disposal fee than landfill and compost sites”.

He added that another advantage afforded processors was environmental stewardship: “This allows food processors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions since the gases that are produced by these by-products are used to create energy, rather then seeping into the atmosphere.”

“When captured and used to generate energy, however, methane serves as an excellent fuel and provides the dual environment benefit of being sequestered from the atmosphere and displacing traditional, polluting forms of energy like coal.”