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Know the facts about wasting food
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell. - photo by Denise Etheridge

Someone asked me about food waste and how does it hurt the environment.  Well, I thought I do some investigation first before I answer and share what I found.  I came across several articles online that talked about facts and the results of wasting food.  Food waste is everyone’s problem.  We have to be mindful of what we buy, cook, and the amount of food for the size of the group we are serving.  Food waste is a universal problem all around the world, not just among developed nations.  Over 800 million people suffer from severe malnutrition, a terrifying thought when one-third of all the food intended for human consumption is wasted or lost. Food waste negatively affects the environment, the economy, food security, and nutrition. When we take the time to discuss issues that affect us all, we become a better community. 

 

Keep Liberty Beautiful mission is to help educate and make our community aware of what we can do to make Liberty County clean, green, and beautiful.  Here are some facts about food waste that you need to know: 

 

·        Roughly one-third of the food produced that is intended for human consumption every year - around 1.3 billion tons and valued at $1 trillion - is wasted or lost. This is enough to feed 3 billion people. 

 

·        The water used to produce the food wasted could be used by 9 billion people at around 200 liters per person per day. 

 

·        Food loss and waste accounts for about 4.4 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. 

 

·        Breaking it down by food group, losses and waste per year are roughly 30% for cereals, 40-50% for root crops and fruit and vegetables, 20% for oilseed and meat and dairy, and 35% for fish. 

 

·        If 25% of the food currently being lost or wasted globally were saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million people around the world. 

 

·        By mid-century, the world population will hit 9 billion people. By then, food production must be increased by 70% to meet this demand. 

 

·        Food losses translate into lost income for farmers and higher prices for consumers, giving us an economic incentive to reduce food waste. 

 

·        Large quantities of food are wasted at the retail level because of quality standards that overemphasize appearance- in fact, half of all produce is thrown away in the US because it is deemed too “ugly” to eat; this amounts to 60 million tons of fruits and vegetables. 

 

·        25% of the world’s fresh water supply is used to grow food that is never eaten. 

 

·        According to a survey conducted by Respect Food, 63% of people don’t know the difference between “use by” and “best before” dates. Foods with “use by” dates are perishable and must be eaten before the given date. Foods with “best before” dates can be eaten after the given date, but it won’t be at its best quality. 

 

These facts tell us that we need to reduce the amount of food waste that we produce or, at the very least, learn how to reuse leftover food to feed humans and animals or to make energy and compost to close nutrient cycles. We hope this information about food waste has motivated you to rethink your consumption habits! For more information on preventing food waste, check out www.savethefood.com  and www.stopfoodwasteday.com.   You can also contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at (912) 880- 4888 or klcb@libertycountyga.com.  Will you take the pledge to stop food waste today?!

 

 

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