How does Food Waste Effects the Environment?

How does food waste effect the environment? 

  • UNEP states “In the USA, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions” (UNEP).
  • Ferdman states “The livestock industry contributes more than 15 percent of global carbon emissions, according to the U.N, which means that when Americans throw out meat, they are wasting some of the most environmentally costly food available” (Ferdman).
  •  “The carbon footprint of wasted food is estimated at 3.3 gigatonnes
  • Chainey states “if food waste were a country, it would rank behind only the US and China for greenhouse gas emissions” (Chainey).
  • Specht states “… the food we waste represents squandered energy (and water and land). About four percent of all U.S. energy usage is embedded in the food we squander” (Specht).
  • Thomas states “Domestic food waste disposers (FWDs) have recently come to prominence as a possible alternative for disposal of organic waste, to reduce the quantities of this type of waste sent to landfill. There has been little research undertaken on the potential effects of food waste on the wastewater system…” (250).
  • Gobel states “food produced but not used for human consumption is a waste of natural resources” (1429).

Understanding that most things in life have consequences is a basic concept that all useful adults should know. Learning about how food waste effects the environment can inspire a person to make more conscious decisions and help spread awareness. 

Why is food waste bad for the environment? 

  • Britz claims “Food waste is linked to several environmental issues such as the landfill expansion and methane emissions that contribute to climate change” (1).
  • Britz continues “… food production activities is responsible around 30% of the global warming potential…” (1).
  • Ferdman states “Landfills full of decomposing food release methane, which is said to be at least 20 times more lethal a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide” (Ferdman).
  • Ferdman states “Those same landfills are the single largest producer of methane emissions in the United States—they produce almost a quarter of the country’s total methane emissions, according to the NRDC” (Ferdman).
  • Chainey states “The production of wasted food also uses around 1.4 billion hectares of land – 28% of the world’s agricultural area. A huge amount of surface or groundwater – known as “blue water” – is also lost; about 250km3, more than 38 times the blue-water footprint of US households“(Chainey).
  • Specht states “Landfills are the second-largest source of human-related methane emissions, and food is now the largest component of our waste stream ending up in landfills” (Specht).
  • Gobel states “environmental impact and climate change threaten the livelihood of future generations” (1430).

The facts and data that come along with why food waste is bad for the environment is shocking and ,is frankly, little discussed. However, even though most of the information is upsetting and hard to hear, the world needs to be informed so that the environmental effects that company food waste can cease to exist.