Reducing food waste has significant benefits for society and the environment. Over 70% to 86% of food that is discarded is edible, and redistributing this food can address both issues. By preventing food from going to waste, we are also combating food insecurity. P2P sharing of surplus food is one of the most effective solutions to food waste.
Common situations where food is wasted
Food waste happens when we buy too much and prepare more than we need. This includes leftovers. Sometimes, food is put in the back of the refrigerator and never used. Food can also go bad when it expires. Food waste can also be caused by poor business practices and social norms. Regardless of the situation, there are several ways to prevent food waste and reduce your food bill.
Food waste has many causes and affects the economy. It costs billions of dollars in lost revenue, taxes natural resources and human resources, and damages the environment. It also produces greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming. It is important to note that some countries are more susceptible to food waste than others. Some countries have strict laws prohibiting food waste and impose large fines for improper disposal. In contrast, the United States lacks strict policies and social awareness about food loss, and food waste is a serious issue in many areas.
Institutions that serve food in buffet style are particularly prone to food waste. In a bid to provide a large variety to their customers, they tend to waste some of it. In such cases, food is not saved because it has spoiled or is no longer edible. Additionally, the food isn’t stored properly, and cannot be re-served.
Consumer-facing businesses generate between 22 and 33 billion pounds of food waste annually. In restaurants, 4 to 10 percent of food is thrown away before it even reaches a consumer. Excessive portions, inflexible management of chain stores, and extensive menus are some of the factors that contribute to restaurant food waste. Furthermore, according to Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, 17 percent of meals at restaurants are left uneaten and 55 percent of food leftovers in restaurants are edible.
There is a significant economic cost associated with food waste. According to the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, by 2030, the world will lose $155 to 405 billion in food. The costs of food waste include resources used, the amount of food thrown away, and pollution caused by waste. Most of the food waste ends up in landfills, where it produces methane, a leading contributor to climate change. The FAO estimates that the environmental cost of food waste is $700 billion annually. The FAO measures the environmental costs by quantifying the amount of carbon, land, and water that waste creates in landfills, and the savings from conservation efforts. It also considers the costs related to biodiversity, which include plants and animals that are lost to the environment.
The economic cost of reducing food waste can vary depending on the size of the waste problem. The cost of food waste is significantly higher than the economic cost of producing it, and it is disproportionately higher for lower-income people. The resulting nutritional deficiencies result in higher healthcare costs and lower levels of productivity. In addition to these negative economic impacts, the food waste problem also leads to increased costs of reducing the amount of waste produced and the associated employment costs. In addition, the cost of food waste can lead to decreased profits for farmers and a higher price for food.
In addition to helping nature and food security, reducing food waste can also be beneficial for businesses. For example, Marriott International has made a goal of reducing food waste by 50% by 2025. The company was part of a pilot program of the American Hotel & Lodging Association that saw a 3 percent reduction in overall food costs. Such results are especially noteworthy given that Marriott International has very thin profit margins.
Reducing food waste is important for several reasons. For one, food waste wastes resources and contributes to climate change. When processed and shipped, food waste causes a large amount of energy consumption. It also causes natural resources to be wasted such as seeds and soil. Moreover, food waste creates methane, which is a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.
According to an FAO report, about half of the world’s food is wasted. This includes food scraps, discarded food, and food that is not eaten. Wasted food amounts to a third of the total amount of food produced annually, equivalent to about one trillion dollars in value. According to the same report, the US, China, and India account for the largest proportion of food waste.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, about 17 million square miles of food is wasted each year in the U.S. The majority of this food ends up in landfills, where it releases the powerful greenhouse gas methane. By reducing food waste, we would save the equivalent of 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of taking one out of every five cars off the roads.
Reducing food waste is also an effective method of saving money. Reducing food waste can save an average household approximately $370 per year. The average household can divert as much as 330 pounds of food from local waste facilities each year. This can also help conserve the resources used to produce food.
The highest potential to reduce food waste is for meat and cereal grains, which contribute to the highest GHG emissions. Furthermore, reducing food waste at these sources would reduce water and land use.
Increasingly, P2P sharing platforms offer a potentially effective solution to food waste, diverting unwanted food from landfills to interested consumers. However, these platforms are not yet fully developed, and we need to understand more about the social impact of sharing food before making any conclusions. In particular, we need to understand how much food waste is diverted and how it is collected.
One reason why P2P sharing is so promising is because it can reduce the social stigma that many people have associated with approaching food banks and similar charities for help. Furthermore, it can help reduce the environmental impact of road transport. In one study, 41 t of food waste was exchanged in Greater London, and it resulted in a reduction of 226 to 451 thousand extra kilometers on London buses and cars.
Reducing food waste through P2P sharing can reduce the amount of food we buy, which can have a rebound effect. Food waste is estimated to be worth PS0.7 million in retail value. However, P2P sharing has the potential to increase overall GHG emissions. This social impact is particularly relevant for low-income families, which are often forced to spend their money on food.
Food waste is a major social and environmental issue. Around 70-86% of food is edible when discarded, and by redistributing this food, we can simultaneously address food waste and food insecurity. It is important to note that food waste is a global issue, and in some countries it is particularly high.
The environmental benefits of reducing food waste are enormous, and it can be five times larger than current estimates.
Apps that reduce food waste
The social impact of apps that reduce food waste has not yet been quantified. Currently, they only measure success by the number of pounds moved, not the social impact of a consumer’s actions. According to Ashley Zanolli, former senior policy advisor at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, these apps aren’t measuring food waste in the most meaningful way. In addition, these apps can’t determine what happens to leftover food after the app has delivered it.
One app, Goodr, is a food donation program that allows users to donate excess food to charities or community groups. The app lets users choose between donating food regularly or randomly. This approach reduces food waste in two ways: by giving it to those in need. While food donation programs are not a complete solution to food insecurity, they are a critical step in closing the gap between abundance and need.
Using these apps can help consumers reduce their food waste and improve their health. The study also found that consumers are aware of the food waste problem, but their experiences with these apps show that they need more technical and content improvements to make them more useful. Moreover, they felt that some of the apps required too much manual work to be used regularly and that they didn’t care much about the interests of producers.
The social impact of apps that reduce food waste is not clear yet, however. The study’s small sample size limits generalizability. It also only covers two apps, while a previous review identified eleven apps. Despite these limitations, the study’s findings were generally in line with reports on their use. The authors also noted that the financial incentive used to recruit participants may have influenced the results of this study. However, this is a common practice when it comes to recruitment in studies.