Food waste is considered by many people as non-useful materials. It is harmful to the environment. Greenhouse gases are released as by-products of food waste and these warm the environment, causing imaginable negative environmental impacts such as sea level rise and floods. Wasted food items are also harmful to humans. It can cause illnesses such as meningitis and foot disease if human beings come in contact with it. In general, the issues of food waste constitute a burden to people and the society. It also creates financial losses to food waste producers.
It is noteworthy that waste hardly exists in theory. When waste is produced, in essence, it means that some of the resources (such as energy, chemicals, and labour) that were used to produce the wasted product had been given off or wasted.
A lot of people are making huge efforts to eliminate food waste. However, wasteful practices seem to be inevitable in today’s world. A promising and long-lasting solution to food waste is for it to be turned into useful items and reused, thereby averting it from getting to landfill.In today’s world, it is possible to make good use of food waste by turning it into resources. And below are a few things we can do sustainably with food waste.
Hunger: A significant proportion of food waste comes from food items in good conditions that were not used before their expiry dates. As health and safety require that expired food items be discarded, such unconsumed food items are sometimes sent to landfill sites. However, instead of sending the waste to landfill, an environmentally friendly way of dealing with food items that are in a good condition is to donate them to food banks or charities prior to their expiry dates. This measure is increasingly being used by supermarkets in developed countries to alleviate hunger in the society.
Compost: Another way of preventing food waste from getting to landfill is to use it as compost in gardens. This adds and nourishes the nutrients in the soil and improves the growth of plants. In addition, composting helps plants to fight diseases and pests. Renewable Energy: Food waste can be used to generate renewable energy via an anaerobic digestion process. This is also known as energy from waste or waste to energy technology. Many countries around the world are now resorting to the use of this technology to meet their energy needs, thereby improving their energy independence.
Fertiliser: Apart from using anaerobic digestion technology to generate energy from food waste, this process produces high-quality nutrient rich fertiliser. Fertilisers that are produced from anaerobic digestion processes are eco-friendly and have lesser environmental impacts when compared to synthetic fertilisers.
In spite of the obvious fact that food waste can be used in a sustainable way to address many pressing social and environmental issues, food waste producers are not aware of such uses. And food waste awareness programmes are growing around the world. These programmes are being used to make people environmentally conscious of the impacts of food waste and to encourage them to manage food waste in a sustainable way.