All around the world, food waste is a serious issue that countries are facing. As children, you would have probably been told to eat all the food on your plate and not leave any. However, as adults, many people still don’t fully understand the problems caused by food waste.
Why is food waste so bad?
Apart from diminishing your parents’ cooking efforts or the efforts of the hundreds of people working to produce, transport, and sell, wasting food creates a negative effect on the environment. Rotting food waste releases greenhouse gases such as methane into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming, a growing issue in the world. That’s not even mentioning the fact that the giant amount of energy, water, and natural gas (that release greenhouse gases) involved in food production will be wasted if the food goes in the bin.
All over the world, up to a third of all food is lost or wasted, which is an outrageous amount (121 kg per person annually). Because of this, the United Nations has included reducing food waste in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals under number 12 – responsible consumption and production – which aims to ‘reduce by half the per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and the reduction of food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses’. The EU also sets goals similar to this.
We can’t say Cyprus is a good example when it comes to minimizing food waste, as a 2020 Eurostat survey shows us having the highest total food wasted in kilograms per person in Europe. However, not mentioning the large amount of food loss at the level of agricultural production and processing, the food waste generated by tourism in hotels and restaurants is the highest producer of food waste, not households themselves. Recent surveys show even more improvement in reducing food waste in households, and restaurants are shown to be working towards ways to run more efficiently regarding minimizing food waste. Although we’re still far from the EU’s set ideal goal, we are making improvements for the better, which is the right way to go about issues involving habits.
With more and more countries recognizing food waste as a serious issue, a lot of effort is being put into stopping it. Although we aren’t even close to eradicating the issue, progress is being made, and that lets us hope that our future can be as clean and bright as we want it to be.
(F1 pupil, Foley’s School)