1 in every 9 people around the world is starving every day. Meanwhile, 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year, globally. Food is either lost in the harvest, storage or transportation stages or wasted by consumers or retailers and restaurants (FAO – Food and Agricultural Organization). And now, NGOs, public and private institutions together with influencers around the world are tackling the food waste issue, trying to find various solutions: from the recycling of the organic waste that is turned into fuel for agriculture, as well as energy, to national governmental programs to change private and public entities’ way of consuming and disposing food, to influencers that teach people what and how to buy.
Why should food loss and waste concern us?
Not only does food loss and waste causes hunger (around 821 million people are starving around the world every day, according to the latest UN report), but it causes economic losses as well, and has a devastating impact on the environment and biodiversity, as greenhouse gases of food that is produced and then thrown away are estimated at 3.3 billion tons (FAO report), meaning that food waste generates about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention the resources wasted: from energy to land, and water, with The World Resources Institute stating that 24% of all the water used for agriculture is lost through food waste every year, that is around 170 trillion liters.
As you may have imagined, industrialized countries waste more food than the developing ones, food waste per capita, for example, amounting to 95-115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while only 6 to 11 kg a year are being thrown in sub- Saharan Africa, south and southeastern Asia (FAO report).
So how are countries tackling the issue of food waste?
Countries around the world have been taking different measures to cut food waste: from consumer education recycling programs to food diversion from retailers and restaurants or waste management infrastructure building.
For example, to help address the issue, Australia, Norway and Germany have committed to halving food waste by 2030, developing thorough national strategies. France has taken several steps to face the problem – they impose a law to reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfill, demanding private sector entities to recycle the organic waste in case they produce more than 120 T per year. Moreover, supermarkets are no longer allowed to throw food away, it must be either donated, composted or processed into animal feed.
Italy, apart from having passed a similar law to the French one, that encourages companies to donate unsold food, is also doing a good job at recovering organic waste: 6,6 million T of organic waste (wet, green and other organic waste) were collected in 2017, counting for about 40 % of the entire collected waste (CIC- Consorzio Italiano Compostatori). Moreover, in 2017, 55 anaerobic digestion plants for the organic fraction of municipal waste were operating on the Italian territory.
And it’s in these plants, that are being built all over the world, is where Ecostar discs screens, Hextra and Hexact, are doing a great job, separating the organic waste from the plastics, thanks to the Dynamic Disc Screening technology. We can proudly state that Ecostar, with its dynamic disc screens, is present in more than 100 organic waste treatment plants worldwide, actively contributing to the recycling process.
In the UAE, studies state that restaurants are the main source of food waste, amounting to 32 % of the total waste. Another 30% of food waste comes from excess food cooked for celebrations. The solution found: Winnow – a food management solution for contract catering, hotels & casinos, restaurants, supermarkets, and cruise ship businesses, that help chefs in improving the number of ingredients they need in the restaurants for specific dishes to reduce waste.
Let’s always remember: 1 in every 9 people around the world is starving every day, while 1.3 billion tons of food is lost and wasted every year, globally. Plus, a devasting impact on the environment and the economy as well, that’s the impact of food loss and waste.