It is estimated that food wasted by the US and Europe could feed the world three times over. Food waste contributes to excess consumption of freshwater and fossil fuels which, along with methane and CO2 emissions from decomposing food, impacts global climate change. Every tonne of food waste prevented has the potential to save 4.2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the CO2 impact would be the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road.
One of the strangest reasons of food waste is the destruction of vegetables because they look odd… I grow food myself and I know that they come in all shapes and sizes. However; the customer doesn’t buy them. They look ‘funny’. Maybe they’re sick!? They want ‘perfect’ veggies. So most of them don’t even make it to grocery store. Most of them chopped up for soups or instant meals. Quite a number of them gets destroyed.
The Dutch Jente and Lisanne of Kromkommer (= odd-shaped-vegetables) want to put a stop to that! By saving these from the incinerator and trying to get those funny looking veggies shipped to customers once more. An awareness-campagne. They focus on making connections in the chain. For example, between supermarkets and growers, wholesalers and catering businesses and the producer and consumer.
But there’s more you can do to prevent food waste;
- Plan out your meals and make shopping lists to determine what you actually need for a week
- Buy in quantities you can realistically use. Avoid impulse buys.
- Don't throw out fruits and veggies with aesthetic-only blemishes.
- "Re-use" your leftovers by eating them for lunch the next day.
- If your food does go bad, compost it to avoid sending it to the incinerator.
Foodwaste; facts & figures United Kingdom and the US
Source: NextGenerationFood (2010)
How about Holland?
Thankfully the costs of food waste in The Netherlands is considerably lower… Each year each person throws away 48 Kg of food (€350,- per household) a year, according to the Dutch Foodcentre. Still too much though…
Below the award winning infographic of NCRV’s ‘Altijd Wat’ (Dutch).