How Will We Reduce Food Waste?

“The food discarded by retailers and consumers in the most developed countries would be more than enough to feed all of the world’s 870 million hungry people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations” (Nixon 2015). This argument lays the groundwork for what needs to be addressed in the world of agriculture. We already know there is enough food currently growing to feed everyone on Earth. The problem is not the amount of food grown; it’s distribution and the amount of food that’s thrown away.


In developed countries, many families and households are not struggling to find their next meal. The more common occurrence is that families or individuals wind up with more food than they thought they would go through, and lots of that produce spoils, leaving them to throw it out or at best, compost.


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According to Ron Nixon from the New York Times, seven percent of annul greenhouse gas emissions comes from food in our landfills. This means every year, landfills emit 3.3 billion metric tons of methane from our thrown away food. As this is an overwhelmingly high amount of methane being released from one type of source, it would seem obvious to immediately start composting and end the behavior of throwing food scraps in the trash.

That being said, it may take a while to get the most polluting countries to switch to composting in order to cut back on methane emissions in our atmosphere. So what can we do to reduce food waste?


WRAP, Waste and Resources Action Program, explains that the first step is accurately getting the message out there with graphs, measured data, and statistics that show the importance of reducing food waste. “Putting in place measures to quantify in itself prompts action” (WRAP pg. 10). WRAP’s strategies for reducing food waste also include integrating action plans for local communities as well as large scale production chains. Since the “top 15 grocery retailers are responsible for 3o percent of global grocery retail sales” it will make a more significant difference to get grocery retailers to work with their supply chain on reducing food waste and altering the way production is run (WRAP pg. 11). Other suggestions include guidance and regulation on redistributing food for humans and animal feed, effective labeling, food education and training, and infrastructure development. The Waste and Resources Action Program aims to help people reduce the amount they consume and dispose of food, but after that, the main goal is to educate people as much as possible about what to do with uneaten food in order to prevent such a high volume of food in landfills.




1 Comment

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One response to “How Will We Reduce Food Waste?

  1. amyquandt

    What suggestions did you find for the average family that wants to decrease their food waste? I agree that starting at the larger scale is a good idea, but what about at the household level?


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