How throwing away an uneaten banana can cause climate change.

Food Waste

This article is about food, not the food we eat but the food we do not because there is a quite lot of it. Food waste is one of the most concerning topics that no one seems to care about, which is concerning. Current estimates put the global food loss and waste over one-third of all food produced. It is not that people are unaware of the issue, but the problem is that we think that it is something that can be discarded as a minor affair. And, why not? With the proxy wars going on, the drastic change in world politics, terrorism among many things, we make food waste to be our ex after we get a new date.

According to the estimates that were given out by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Resources Institute (WRI), we waste food worth $1 trillion. According to FAO, per capita waste by consumers is between 95–115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia, each throw away only 6–11 kg a year. It is a well-known fact that the world’s population will reach 9 billion in 2050. At this rate, after a decade or two, all the food we order might as well be delivered to the dumpster. The amount of food wastage along with population growth, increasing water scarcity, skyrocketing prices of staple foods, all-time low yields, and growing competition over land pose a direct threat to everyone on this planet. If the issue is still left unchecked, the gap between food demand and supply will continue to widen. Now you may think that what, in the name of all bananas I have eaten, is the link between wastage of food and climate change.

Well, remember the lesson we learned in school about how all fruits and vegetables are biodegradable i.e. capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. So, food is biodegradable, why should that concern us? Well, to be fair, when you throw an uneaten banana out, it is not the problem. The problem comes when all that food is aggregated, and it starts to decompose without air. This anaerobic condition is what causes the release of methane, a greenhouse gas, which is 20X as effective as CO2 (carbon dioxide) at trapping heat. So, if global food waste were a country (whose president undoubtedly would be our friend, the uneaten banana), it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses. So, why is food being wasted?

According to research, no one likes wasting food. The problem is that we buy so much food that we cannot consume. The researchers also concluded that humans do not like seeing white space, be it refrigerators or plates when it comes to food. Hence, we tend to overbuy it.

When you look at it, it is an easy problem but a threatening one none the less. The easy solution is to use small plates, avoid stacking up food like we are going to die tomorrow and shop sensibly.

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