What Are the Benefits Of Reducing Food Waste?
Why reduce food waste?
Food waste has raised many concerns in recent years due to its economic, social, and environmental costs. According to the World Food Programme, the food cycle from agriculture to processing, transportation, wholesaling/retailing, consumers, and post-consumption produces nearly 1.3 billion tons of waste yearly.
In an ideal world where this massive amount of food isn’t wasted, we might have been able to solve a series of complex problems. This includes reducing global demand for production, eradicating world hunger and food security issues, and reducing environmental degradation.
While we might not live in a perfect world, things are changing. Since COVID-19, there has been a rapid acceleration in public and private efforts to reduce food waste, especially in the United Arab Emirates.
To date, the country has one of the highest per capita waste generation – up to $2 billion on average every year, according to Khaleej Times. This is massive for a country of its size and population.
However, the good news is that more people are learning about the financial, social, and environmental benefits of reducing food waste and leading a more sustainable lifestyle.
As one of the country’s top recycling companies, RECAPP by Veolia aims to continue this trend by sharing the many perks of this practice with its clients and readers – prompting them to improve their lifestyles and consumption practices.
3 Social, Economic, and Environmental Benefits of Reducing Food Waste
1. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
From an environmental perspective, the biggest benefit of reducing food waste is a relatively smaller carbon footprint. Food waste accounts for 10-15% of methane production in the UAE. This greenhouse gas is more potent than carbon dioxide. By throwing away less food, you can reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills to rot and decompose.
Similarly, you can reduce the amount of energy recycling companies in the UAE use to safely dispose of and repurpose food waste. For instance, less food waste results in less frequent waste pickup trips from your facility.
2. Energy/Resource Conservation and Cost Reduction
Agriculture and food processing are among the most energy and resource-intensive industries worldwide. Therefore, it utilizes more water, electricity, fuel, and labor to produce and distribute food that ends up in stores, our pantries and refrigerators, and restaurants.
Let’s take the example of potatoes, the world’s most popular vegetable, to illustrate how food waste results in energy and resource waste.
Generally, potatoes require 2-3 months to grow. In one square meter of leased land, farmers can grow nearly three kilograms. Therefore, there are tons of potatoes being grown on acres of land across the UAE by companies such as Elite Agro. Plus, hundreds of tons are imported from other countries to meet the demand.
Each potato requires nearly 7.5 gallons of water to grow and 0.2 ounces of nitrogen fertilizer to grow. Moreover, to enable 24-hour production, many farms use artificial lights that consume nearly 400W of energy on average. All these factors contribute to the overall production cost, and wasting just one potato can result in a significant amount of energy and resources.
Now, imagine thousands of homes in the UAE preventing that one potato from going to waste. This small step can induce a domino effect that can shift the demand-supply curve and reduce the cost. This is a simple concept that can be applied to any food item, whether it's fresh meat, cereal, or pizza bought from a restaurant.
3. Hunger Reduction
Millions of tons of food get wasted every year, while billions of people around the world survive on one meal a day. This situation makes food waste one of the biggest social issues governments and locals have to deal with.
A huge aspect of reducing food waste involves collecting leftovers and unwanted food items from various sources, including supermarkets, homes, offices, and restaurants in UAE, and providing them to those in need.
Today, several companies and charities in the country are providing this service, including the UAE Food Bank and Re-Plate. With these initiatives, less edible food ends up in landfills.
So, there you have it – the three key social, economic, and environmental benefits of food waste in the UAE. Hopefully, with this information, you can make more informed shopping, storing, cooking, and disposing of decisions.
Moreover, for your food containers or other recyclables RECAPP can help you to dispose of it safely and adequately for a sustainable future in the UAE by providing relevant services. You can start now by downloading the app and recycle at home but also at your office with the RECAPP Business solution.