A less discussed environmental issue today is food waste. If food waste were a country, its greenhouse gas emissions would be the third largest in the world, after the US and China; yet none of the Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement mention food waste. When we waste food, we also waste all the energy, water and resources it takes to grow the food, including the energy wasted transporting it. Even when food is left to rot, it produces methane - a potent greenhouse gas 25x stronger than carbon dioxide.
Successfully dealing with food waste should be a global priority, with Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) stating: “If we want to get serious about tackling climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, businesses, governments and citizens around the world have to do their part to reduce food waste”.
Companies Combating Food Waste
There are many companies dealing with food waste in different sectors. The following list below highlights companies who are doing their part to combat food waste:
Olio is a food-sharing app. The app prevents surplus food waste by connecting people and local businesses. People can use the app to give any food they have that is nearing its sell-by date in local stores, or groceries in a fridge, by uploading it to the app for people to pick-up.
Too Good to Go is another food-sharing app. The app primarily sells unused food from businesses within local areas. Customers can browse the app to purchase ‘magic bags’ containing food that would have otherwise been thrown away.
Bio-Bean recycles coffee waste into carbon-neutral biomass products. With a quarter of a million tonnes of coffee waste grounds annually discarded throughout the UK, bio-bean works with companies to transform this waste into valuable products.
Oddbox helps prevent food waste by working with farmers to deliver boxes of fruits and vegetables. 40% of produce in the UK is thrown away due to its appearance or because supply is too much — this is where Oddbox comes in: the company sells food that would otherwise be thrown away.
What You Can Do to Prevent Food Waste?
There are a number of ways you can help prevent food waste in your daily life. Many of these choices are not only beneficial for you, but also your family and your community.
Donate Surplus Food - You can donate any surplus to either food banks or use apps such as Olio. Supermarkets regularly have areas throughout their stores where people can donate food.
Use Your Leftovers - Many leftover ingredients and meals can be repurposed to create new meals. If you find it difficult to create new recipes from your leftovers , Love Food Hate Waste includes a number of original recipes that use leftover ingredients.
Start Composting - Though Councils offer green waste collections, home composting is an environmentally friendly alternative to prevent food waste.