Not every single being of the human population is aware of how much food we waste. Hundreds, thousands, millions of people all over the world are fighting for a piece of bread and here we are on the other side picking whether we should eat white or black bread.
The number of people that are fighting to satisfy their basic nutritional needs is big enough for others to start finding ways to save food for the greater good. There are many reasons why we should save food. Economically speaking, it would help us save a lot of money and this is one of the main reasons why everybody likes the idea. For example, we can also get creative with it, by:
- Composting it and later using it to grow out our plants in the yard,
- Safely freezing leftovers in freezers,
- Buying food that we need, considering not buying junk food etc.
Sometimes when we are out and get ourselves something to eat, afterwards if there are some leftovers, we should give them to our pets or some stray dogs and cats in our block. Stray animals go around old junk and rubbish looking for food, so when we have it why not just give it to them.
Food leftovers can be used to produce renewable energy like biogas. With the Anaerobic process the food makes the gas which can be used for making electricity.
This will not only reduce food wasting lower, but it will also help with lowering the need to use fossil fuels as well as pollution.
At least 1/3 of the food that is made ends up in a landfill, where it rots and produces methane. Methane is a gas that’s even more potent than carbon dioxide, causing а number of negative things including air pollution. When food is wasted that includes the land and the water that were used to produce it. So, stopping food waste will also have a lower harmful impact over the earth.
There are local councils trying to help by sending their non-recyclable food waste to be incinerated, that way all the pesticides and solvents will be destroyed but not the metals too. Still, it has positive impact getting us useful energy, but on the other hand it also releases harmful gasses leading to lung and heart diseases. So, it doesn’t really make us any change if the food waste is buried on a land field or is up in the air.
Globally, 14% of all food produced is lost or waste from harvest to transport, storage, and processing, amounting to around USD 400 billion (FAO, 2019) while, in 2019, around 931 million tons of food were wasted (17% of total global food production): 61% by households, 26% by food services, and 13% by retail (UNEP, 2012).
How Food Waste in Macedonia is Solving Hunger
North Macedonia, a small developing country in The Balkans, has experienced impressive progress in addressing hunger within the country. For instance, the poverty rate in North Macedonia was 27% in 2010. By 2017, that number reduced to 22%. Further, in 2019 Macedonia’s Global Hunger Index (GHI) score was 5.6, a relatively low level of hunger. Unfortunately, high levels of food waste in Macedonia have limited progress towards completely eradicating poverty and hunger in the region.
In North Macedonia, 40% of solid waste comes from food, accounting for a staggering 100,000 tons of waste. Agricultural surpluses create most of the waste. This leads to decreased access to nutritious foods, lower incomes for actors in the value chain, and increased food prices for consumers. These all negatively impact those living in poverty, and further, may potentially lead to an increase in hunger in North Macedonia.
Is There a Solution to Food Waste?
An apparent solution to the problem would be to redistribute food waste to those at risk of hunger. The Fund for Innovation and Technological Development has teamed up with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy to address these redistribution efforts. The organization has provided support to the Let’s do it North Macedonia association to address sustainable solutions for food waste in Macedonia. People in need are receiving the redistribution of food surplus through the Everyone Fed program. This is happening in Skopje, Kumanovo and Prilep. The program has supported 10,000 people in need, including the provision of over 550,000 meals.
The Let’s do it North Macedonia association has successfully advocated for the passage of the Food Surplus Donation Law. The association is currently advocating for the creation of the first National Food Loss and Waste Prevention Strategy. These measures will help further mitigate food waste in Macedonia and contribute to the alleviation of hunger. In addition to redistributing food waste, the waste can be reduced through investments in infrastructure, as recommended by the NGO “Ajde Makedonija”. At the international level, the FAO is supporting smallholders and family farmers in Macedonia to overcome insufficient agricultural infrastructure which may further alleviate hunger. By eliminating food waste in Macedonia through innovative measures, such as the redistribution of surplus food, the Macedonian economy could save an upwards of $1 million a year. People could, in turn, repurpose these savings to further address poverty and hunger in Macedonia.
Another type of solution to this problem is offered by the Biogas power plant of Central invest, “Bio Enterprise”, which is already operating at full capacity, with its installed capacity of 2 megawatts. The power plant is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment with which the entire process is automated. This type of power plant produces electricity from organic waste, thereby cleaning the environment, and as a by-product is heat energy for greenhouses, as well as fertilizer for agriculture, which means that the benefit of these capacities is multiple.
From students from the second year in Secondary Vocational School “Dimitrija Chupovski” – Veles, North Macedonia