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Waste Not, Want Not: The Problem of Food Waste

06 Mar 2013


The world produces enough food to provide every person on earth with a diet of 2700kcal per day. Yet, according to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, wastage occurring at every step of the supply chain means that an estimated 30-50% of this food never reaches a human stomach. Vast amounts of land, energy, fertilisers and water are lost to the production of foodstuffs which simply end up as waste. 

In 2012, the European Parliament adopted a resolution asking the Commission to look at practical measures towards halving food waste by 2025, and proposing that 2014 be declared “the European Year of the fight against food waste”.

This content forms part of the Environment Nexus project, which is co-financed bDG Communication of the European Parliament.


As an independent forum, the Institute does not express any opinions of its own. The views expressed in the article are the sole responsibility of the author.

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bguiled says: 27 Apr 2013 17:31

I sing the "30 per cent" song to those who dump good food from their plates to the garbage with excuses like, "It's just one little bit; took/were served too much; watching weight; do't like this or that; don't like leftovers; no place to keep it to the next meal; etc." Overall, that's 30% of agricultural land, 30% of water to grow things, 30% of chemicals used to treat it, 30% of the farmers'/ranchers' time, 30% of the fuels that make the chemicals, ... By the time I get to about here, they get it, but I keep singing: 30% of vehicle wear-and-tear to produce and market it, 30% of transportation to factories, stores, prep' & serving places, the dump 30% of factory resources and time, 30% of packaging, 30% of store handing and space, 30% of prep' time, cooking fuels, 30% gone to garbage transportation, handling So much of this waste happens one plate at a time, one little innocuous choice to disrespect all that went into the great gifts of this food, simply because our needs at the moment override our caring for the bigger picture. We can be so much more careful - full of care - and considerate regarding food, and we can start RIGHT NOW, YAY!

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