If you are wasting food, then you are feeding climate change, according to the latest new UN environment report. A comprehensive food waste data collection, analysis and modelling, the Food Waste Index report 2021 offers a methodology for countries to measure food waste at household, food service and retail level.
The report presents a country-level food waste estimate and the methodology can generate strong evidence to guide a national strategy on food waste prevention. This report estimates that around 931 million tonnes of food waste was generated in 2019. In this, 61 per cent came from households, 26 per cent from food service and 13 per cent from retail. This shows that 17 per cent of total global food production gets wasted. It said that households discard 11 per cent of food, food services five per cent and retail outlets generate two per cent of food waste.
Food Waste Burdens Waste Management
United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Inger Andersen said that if food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. “Food waste also burdens waste management systems, exacerbates food insecurity, making it a major contributor to the three planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste,” she said.
She pointed out that governments and citizens around the world should do their part to reduce food waste if they have to get serious about tackling climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, pollution and waste.
Though food waste thought to be a major concern in rich countries, the study notes that the levels of food wastage were almost similar in all the countries.
Not Waste Food at Home
The report points out that hunger impacted about 690 million people and three billion were unable to afford a healthy diet in 2019. Against this background and the Covid 19 pandemic remaining a threat, the UNEP urges consumers not to waste food at home.
Andersen said that the UN Food Systems Summit this year would provide an opportunity to launch bold new actions to tackle food waste globally.