Researchers at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) recently found that between 30 to 50 percent of all food produced – or up to two billion tons – is thrown away each year. The UK-based group claims that over-cautious sell by dates, buy one get one free deals and the western obsession with fruit and vegetables that look perfect are among the culprits of this colossal waste of not only food, but also the water, energy and land required to produce it, The Guardian reports. At the same time, the IME points out that by 2075, there will be nine and a half billion people on the planet – or 2.5 billion more people to feed.
Called Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not, the report found that 30 percent of crops in the UK are not harvested because they fail to meet the stringent cosmetic standards set by food distributors around the globe. And in the United States and Europe, almost half of the food purchased is thrown away. This food typically languishes in landfills, where it produces methane. In addition to being almost criminal given that in 2010, nearly 1 billion people went hungry, according to WorldHunger.org, the water, energy and land required to produce this food is wasted too.
550 billion cubic meters of water is wasted globally, with meat production soaking up 20-50 times more water than that used to grow vegetables, prompting some to wonder if the great majority of the world’s population will be forced into vegetarianism. By 2050, we could be throwing away up to 13 trillion cubic meters of water if nothing is done to change how we produce food. IME recommends better engineering and agricultural techniques and enhanced infrastructure as a starting point to remedying this unfathomable travesty.
Via The Guardian