Food waste and environmental damages

Food is our source of nourishment, a way to celebrate our joy and to process our sorrow. Many times it is also a way to celebrate our great days.

We know how to treat ourselves through food, wether Is is sweet or savoury, but we seldom think about how much food is wasted everyday. A lot, probably a third of the whole food production. Into developing countries, food waste is almost inexistent, the majority of the waste takes place during the intermediate food production phases or it is due to conservation problems. According to FAO’S estimations, a person living in Europe or in North America wastes about 95-115 Kg of food per year, whereas in Sub-Saharan Africa the waste per person is “only” 6-11 kg per year, of which 35% comes from animals and 25% from plants.

The wealthiest countries are the major cause of food waste. People do not pay attention to expiration dates on products, foods that are about to expire are seldom consumed. Everyone of us happened to throw away whole forgotten packs, ore to buy a certain food that we don’t even like just because it’s on specials. Inevitably all of this food is wasted, and with it all the natural resources that served to its production.

In terms of environmental impact , this is a huge problem. Losses and in general food waste represent a big waste of resources used for production, such as energy, water and land.

To produce food that is not going to be consumed, leads to unnecessary wastes of fossil sources used to farm, move and stock foods together with methane produced from anaerobic digestion, happening every time food is thrown into rubbish dumps. Said emissions contribute in a crucial way to climate change. As a carbon dioxide emissions, which FAO has estimated to be “around 3,3 billions of CO2”, it’s been said that if food waste was a State, it would be at the third place after USA and China, that emit more. Also, food waste is responsible for the growing level of deforestation, which leads to biodiversity loss.

Food waste is the waste of precious resources used in agriculture and breeding. FAO says resources are often used to produce food that is never going to be consumed and the environmental impact is huge, leading to eutrophication, land consume, deforestation, water consumption and damage to the respiration of human and animals. Just think about the big impact of meat and dairy farms and cultivations with their amount of pesticides. Food waste generates incalculable damage to the environment and to human health.

Where is the waste? Food is wasted along the supply chain because a lot of the food transported is deteriorating during trip to the consumer. Food is also wasted by men, who often buy a lot falling into sales traps and ending in throwing out huge food quantities.

We live in a world where many people have too much food, but many have too few. This does not refer to developing countries only, but it can be referred also to our country after the COVID19 crisis. A lot of people are suffering from hunger and don’t manage to bring a meal on their tables at night. In contemporary world, who has much food, ends into wasting it, whereas who has not that much, manages to survive but suffers from food deficit.

A way to not waste food would be respecting our groceries lists, avoid special offers if we don’t really need the product and take better care of our refrigerator, placing the foods inside it in order of their expiration.

Translated by Dr. Oshun Samintra De Feo 

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  • L'Autore

    Valeria Fraquelli

    Sono una ragazza di trenta anni con Laurea triennale in Studi Internazionali e Laurea magistrale in Scienze del governo e dell'amministrazione.

    Ho fatto anche vari corsi post Laurea perchè non si finisce mai di imparare e io personalmente credo che rimanere sempre informati sia un dovere e un diritto per capire meglio come funziona il mondo che ci circonda.

    Adoro l'arte e la cultura e mi piace molto girare per mostre e musei. Mi piace anche viaggiare, il mondo è grande e tutto da scoprire con altre culture e altre tradizioni interessanti ed affascinanti.


Sections Environment & Development Health & Wellness Nutrition 2030 Agenda Eradicate hunger Responsible consumption and production Life on land


spreco alimentare danni ambientali lista della spesa distruzione dell'ambiente naturale FAO

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