Do you know how Food Waste contributes to Climate Change?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlights the clear link between food waste and climate change and concludes that reducing food loss and waste would significantly lower global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But how does food waste contribute to climate change and how can you reduce food wastage in your business through better waste management? As the world prepares for COP26, we address these critical questions as a part of our #DontWasteTime campaign.
Food waste is fuelling the Climate Crisis
Food waste is an often overlooked facet of the climate crisis. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that one third of all food produced globally is wasted. This equates to roughly 1.8 billion tons of food wastage per year. Food waste is the largest class of landfill rubbish taking up nearly 20% of landfill space. This is not only a wasted resource, but the decomposition process contributes to a significant share of global GHG emissions. When food waste is sent to landfills it produces methane, a GHG roughly 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The absence of sunlight and oxygen in landfill conditions means that food waste is unable to decompose naturally and hence produces methane.
To put food waste into perspective, if it were a country it would be the third largest emitter of GHG emissions globally, after the United States and China. Food wastage emissions are also nearly as high as the global road transport emissions. Moreover, if we stopped wasting food, we’d be able to cut our total GHG emissions by between 8 and 10%. The urgent need to reduce food waste is supported by Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals which aims to halve food waste by the year 2030. Fighting food waste remains critical to solving the climate crisis.
Figure 2: SDG 12
How to Fight Food Waste and Climate Change?
It’s safe to say drastic action is needed to tackle food waste given its contribution to climate change, but how can businesses practically go about doing this? Prioritising the Waste Hierarchy is an essential step to reduce food waste in your business. This starts by employing all measures to avoid, reuse, recycle, recover and treat food waste before disposing of via landfill sites. In previous articles, we have discussed How Software Can Help Avoid Food Waste by providing solutions to avoid waste at the onset.
Once avoidance, reduction and reuse have been optimised recycling food waste is the next most preferred option. There several on-site solutions for organic waste such as composting and vermicomposting, anaerobic digesters and food waste dehydrators (How Hardware Can Help Recycle Food Waste). Finding the organic waste solutions that are most suitable to your business are important and can help you reduce the GHG emissions associated with food waste disposal.
How Don’t Waste can help
Don’t Waste can help you better manage your food waste by providing the most advanced waste management system and solutions.
Don’t Waste’s System: A data-driven approach to managing food waste
Don’t Waste provides you with the data management tools to help you tackle the food waste problem. Our advanced systems, software and reporting frameworks work together to help you accurately track, measure and report on your food waste. Our system helps you to:
- Monitor the volumes of food waste diverted.
- Track the food waste collected from your site to its final destination, ensuring that you know where your waste ends up.
- Communicate and report on the environmental/carbon savings achieved through reducing, reusing, recycling and treating food waste as an alternative to landfill.
Once you understand how much food waste you are producing, as well as the type and sources of this waste it becomes much easier to identify the most suitable approach to reducing it.
Organic Waste Solutions
Don’t Waste provides operational and financial modelling for various technology options. We provide you with bespoke on and off-site solutions for your food waste. This allows you to divert food waste from landfill sites and achieve carbon savings. As always, Don’t Waste is treatment agnostic and will ensure that the solution provided is best suited to your site’s operations and aligned with your company’s sustainability goals.
Tenant Billing and Management solutions
Recyclables are often contaminated with food waste as there is inadequate source separation. We provide you with the tools to engage, manage and bill tenants according to their adherence to waste requirements. For example, in order to reduce food waste, it’s critical to ensure food waste is collected separately. Ensuring tenants adhere to this rule can be challenging but through our tenant capture and management solutions, your business can incentivise compliance by rewarding tenants who properly separate their food waste and take steps to reduce it.
Are you fighting food waste in your organisation or fuelling the climate crisis? Don’t Waste’s suite of organic waste solutions and unique data-driven system makes it easy for you to improve your organisation’s food waste management. The time to take action is now.
Don’t Waste provides industry leading business intelligence, site management, and waste management services to Property, Retail, Commercial, Industrial and Hospitality industries. Our customers include the world’s leading property management groups. To find out more about our innovative value-added systems and services in onsite waste operations, contact:
Melissa van Rensburg- Group Zero Waste Lead: (Email: )