Waste is practically viewed as non-useful materials. However, waste hardly exists in theory. When waste is produced, it, in essence, means that a portion of the resources such as energy, chemicals, and labour that were used to produce the wasted product had been given off or wasted.
Wasteful practices seem to be inevitable in today’s world. And the agriculture sector is not immune from it.
In today’s world, what we cannot eliminate can be reduced, only if we take good precautions. And below are a few things we can do to reduce waste in the agriculture sector.
First, reducing landfill waste can be tackled through effective supply chain management. This is because supply chains in the agriculture sector are complex in nature with widespread activities in several locations- seed growing, land clearing, produce harvesting etc. are domiciled in several locations. And the communication line between these locations is not really tight. To ensure wasteful practices are reduced, supply chain players in the sector will need to collaborate and communicate in a two-way style. Doing this, wasteful practices in the sector are identified and shared between all players. And the supply chain area that has control over such practices can devise alternative means to eliminate or reduce the waste source. The connection between supply chain players in the agriculture sector, therefore, needs to be tightened before wasteful practices can be effectively eliminated or reduced.
Second, for waste to be reduced in the agriculture sector, economics and environmental education need to be intensified in all segments of the sector. It is noteworthy that policy makers currently use economic instruments such as landfill tax to deter businesses from producing landfill waste. And some companies in the sector are not even aware of the existence of such instruments. As a result, a basic understanding of the economics associated with life cycle processes (of agricultural products) can help reduce landfill waste. This can be achieved by making supply chain players aware of the fact they could be losing or will eventually lose money if their waste is not eliminated or reduced. Furthermore, methane is released from landfill and causes global warming and little or no attention seems to be given to it. The acquisition of basic environmental knowledge can help companies in the sector come to terms with the fact that their operations if unmanaged can significantly damage the environment, thereby prompting them to reduce waste.
Third, there are technologies in place that use waste from the agriculture sector for renewable energy production. For example, food waste and slurries can be utilized by anaerobic digestion plants to produce clean energy. Energy produced from this source is cleaner than fossil fuels and can be used in the transition to a low carbon economy. It is therefore vitally important for waste producers within food supply chains to come to terms that some items that are classified as waste are useful materials that can be utilized by clean technologies, thus encouraging them to dispose of waste in an eco-friendly way so that it can be used resourcefully- this will reduce the chances of it getting to landfill.
Fourth, we all consume food on a daily basis, making everyone part of the food chain as well as the solution to food waste. As a result, making individual and collective efforts by ensuring that little or none of our food items are sent to landfill will help reduce food waste.