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Reducing Global Food Waste is Gaining Serious Traction

Posted by Rafael Garrido on Jan 19, 2020 7:59:32 PM

By now, the issue of food waste has raised flags for many foodies throughout the world. People can't help but wonder where all those surplus meals are going, and what led people to start tossing their precious excess in the first place. But with the fight against global food waste gaining momentum every day, we have a feeling things are going to take a turn for the better.

The #foodwaste hashtag on Instagram may have a whopping 207,247 posts to its name, but these millennials are doing more than sharing snapshots of a troubled planet. Here's all you need to know about the rising trend of reducing global food waste, the solutions that make a difference and how you can join a movement founded on a love for the world at large.


What's the Deal with Food Waste?

Whoever started talking about food waste in the first place clearly wanted the concept to be as straightforward as possible. It's food, and its waste. It's meals that could have been consumed by any one of the 37 million food insecure people in America. It's produce that could have nourished a good chunk of Sub-Saharan Africa, the hungriest region in the world. It's matter that takes up space in the landfill for what seems like no good reason at all.

And with 40% of all food in the US being thrown away, it's a big deal.


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Why's it So Important to Reduce Food Waste?

Why spend all this time and energy reducing food waste in the first place? Well, we've let the issue linger for quite some time, and it's had tangible effects on the environment and humanity alike. With 63 million tons of food waste piling up each year, these effects are quickly surmounting.

Food waste harms the environment through methane pollution, a direct result of landfill contribution. Moreover, it uses up precious oil and water, two very finite resources. Unnecessarily overburdening agricultural land is yet another downside to a food waste society. And to put it frankly, allowing a wasteful culture to continue on this trajectory means allowing food-insecure people to go hungry every day.

So if you're wondering just what makes the venture of reducing global food waste such a worthy one, you've got your answers.


Are We Reaching Our Sustainable Development Goals?

In the past few years, food waste knowhow has really gained traction. Back in 2011 (can you believe it's almost been a decade?) the Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that a massive third of the world's food was lost or wasted. At the time, there were no hard nor fast plans set forth for food businesses to reduce their contribution.

Nowadays, the global food waste estimation nears 40%, but unlike in 2011, our world is doing something about it. With the recent band of the FDA, EPA and USDA, the United States has promised to halve food waste at retail and consumer levels by the year 2030. Some states within the nation have even banned organic matter from entering the landfills, pushing them instead to industrial composting facilities that help generate healthy soil.

Making a Statement: As of 2018, the city of Austin, TX has banned restaurants from throwing out food. These food businesses have been ordered to explore different avenues, like donating surplus, sending scraps to farms and composting. On top of their 2013 plastic bag ban, this motion proves that Austin is quite the trendsetter.


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So with this Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), we wonder if the nation—among other countries throughout the world—will reach those prescribed targets within the next decade. The new alliance between the federal agency trio states it'll focus on solutions like preventing, recovering and recycling excess food, as well as increasing communication, donation and best practices in every facet of food retailing. 

At the end of the day, only time will tell if we'll reach the goal—but in the meantime, we'll do our darndest to employ those solutions we know will make a difference.   


Top Solutions for Reducing Food Waste

At face value, reducing global food waste can seem like a complicated endeavor. But look into its core and you'll realize just how many practical solutions abound. In fact, ReFed proposes 27 unique solutions that claim to slash food waste measures by a hefty bill. Implementing all of them could even generate $10 billion into the economy, and save nearly 2 billion meals from the trash while they're at it.

Read more about the Top 5 Food Waste Sources (and how you can stop them) here.

While we won't divulge each and every one of these solutions, we're happy to highlight the top of the bunch. At the end of the day, we hope to give you a clear picture of global food waste going forward, and what you can do to boost the reduction trend.

  • Setting Date Labeling Standards

    You know when you see a "best by" date on some food in the grocery store, and you realize just how soon it really is...so you opt out of purchasing it for good measure? Well, you and plenty of others have the same mindset, and it's all a result of customer confusion. Date labeling on packaged products is not currently regulated, and it's worth noting that food doesn't go bad on the labeled date. Because of this labeling mishap, still-good food is thrown out as a result of fear and miseducation. 

It's a Date: ReFed actually provides effective and accurate date labeling methodology for anyone who needs it. That's what we call a team player!

  • Adjusting Packaging to Keep Food Fresh

    There's no denying that plastic pollution is a major contributor to environmental distress. Still, there are ways to do packaging right. And by optimizing food packaging, you can keep food fresh for longer, and help consumers buy what they need rather than what they see. Creating smaller bundles of products helps consumers accurately purchase for their consumption requirements. Moreover, keeping air out of the product does wonders for pushing spoiling to the wayside.

  • Regulating Donations for Food Retailers

    For the food waste wave, edible donations are going to have quite the impact. Sending surplus food to food banks, soup kitchens, shelters and other worthy destinations will redirect food from a place that harms the planet to a place that heals it. Making sure that food is safely handled, properly stored and efficiently transported are just some of the elements that go into regulating food donations.

  • Setting the Small Plate Standard

    While global food waste digs into a slew of cultures, we'd like to dish a little something about America's wasteful system. With our food retailers providing notoriously large portions, much of the plate becomes garbage before it's even had a chance. We're not telling people to eat less; rather, we're telling people to plate up what they will eat, and save the rest for someone who needs it.

All of these solutions to the global food waste epidemic have a lot to offer. And that's not to mention residential and industrial composting, community education and produce standard redefining. If the solutions seem endless, well... they just may be.

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Our Future Lies in Global Food Waste Reduction

Whatever it is that caused such a boom in awareness, reducing global food waste is a crucial matter. If we want our planet healed and our population nourished, we have to implement solutions to the problem (and no, we don't take that lightly). With each day that passes, more food is wasted, so systemic resolutions must happen now.

Not to be dramatic, but we truly do believe that it's time for food waste to kick the can.


The Food Waste Trend Doesn't End Here

Not all trends last, but there are some that stand the test of time. The act of reducing global food waste happens to be the latter, and we can't wait to see the outcome of a focused and righteous generation. Whatever your place in this post-consumer society, however you view food and the community that surrounds you, just know that you can be a part of the solution, too. 

Reducing global food waste may just be a trend right now, but it's well on its way to being an integral part in a consciously consuming population of foodies.


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while getting amazing deals?

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Topics: food waste