Where do most Indians waste their energy

Food waste: numbers, data and facts

Waste on the one hand, hunger on the other

1.3 billion tons of food are thrown away every year or are losses along the value chain. That is around a third of all food produced worldwide. Industrialized and developing countries do not differ significantly in the sum of food losses. They are respectively 670 and 630 million tons.

For Europe, the authors value the FAO study (1.1 MBPDF) an annual per capita loss across the entire value chain of 280 to 300 kilograms. Europeans and North Americans throw away between 95 and 115 kilograms of food a year in the household, especially fruit and vegetables, even though a large part would still be edible. In addition, there are mountains of food that retailers are sorting out.

The people in Africa and southern Asia, on the other hand, hardly throw anything away. But there, too, there are major food losses of over 40 percent after the harvest and in the following steps, because food is inadequately stored, packaged and refrigerated.

Reasons for throwing it away

Food thrown away per capita and year (in kilograms) in different regions of the world. Source: greenpeace magazine 5.11

In the industrialized countries, more than 40 percent of food is lost in the trade and among consumers, mainly because edible food is thrown away. The reasons for this lie on the one hand in the lack of coordination between the individual levels of trade and on the other in consumer habits. Many foods are thrown away because their shape and appearance do not meet the expected norm. A lack of purchasing planning or excessive caution with best-before dates are mentioned in the FAO study. Often more is bought than is actually needed. Buying smaller portions or packs and freezing food, for example, could reduce waste.

In the European Union, an average of 179 kilograms of food is thrown away per person each year. That makes a total of around 89 million tons of waste per year. According to an EU funded research "Preparatory study on food waste across EU 27"(6.2 MBPDF), 42 percent of all food thrown away is accounted for by private households. 39 percent end up in the garbage with the manufacturers, 14 percent in the catering trade and five percent with the retailers.

Tons of edible end up in the trash in Austria too

Austrian households throw away up to 157,000 tons of opened and originally packaged food, although this would have been edible if consumed in good time. On average, the Viennese throw around every year 40 kilograms of food away that could actually have been eaten. Disposal via the residual waste container is only one of the channels through which food is disposed of. If the other disposal methods are also taken into account, such as self-composting, collection via the organic waste bin, etc., an even larger proportion of original and opened food that is thrown away can be assumed. Often the throwing away of food would have been avoidable with timely consumption, proper storage or through improved household management.

Frequent reasons are incorrect planning of purchases and meals (unplanned luxury purchases), incorrect storage or keeping of food. Many people no longer know how to store food properly and how to determine its quality. Many rely on the best before date (BBD), which is colloquially known as the expiration date. This is falsely associated with the fact that a food becomes inedible after it has been reached. But too large lock packs or frequent meals out are also reasons to throw them away.

Tips against food waste

How valuable is food?

Food is produced with an extremely high amount of raw materials, transported for kilometers, cooled and processed into high-quality dishes. If they are thrown away, they have to be disposed of in an energy-intensive and costly manner. The value of the food that is thrown away by an Austrian household every year is around 300 to 400 euros.

From the results of the AMA motivation analysis 2010, the price of a food is one of the main criteria for a purchase decision. In view of the large quantities of original and opened food in residual waste, it seems difficult for consumers to imagine that in Salzburg, for example, an average of 227 euros per year disappear into the residual waste bins of private households in this way.

Education and awareness-raising

Many of the pictures remain in our memories and show us that our handling of food also has dramatic consequences for people in other countries around the world. Thrown food is not only ethical and a problem for society, it also causes different environmental impacts, from agriculture to food processing, trade and disposal by consumers.

Every day in Vienna the amount of bread that can be supplied to Austria's second largest city, Graz, is destroyed as returned goods.

This sentence has shocked thousands of cinema-goers of the Austrian film "We feed the World" by Erwin Wagenhofer since 2005.

The film "Taste the waste" by filmmaker Valentin Thurn reports: "The food that we throw away in Europe and North America would be enough to feed the hungry of the world three times."

Book and film tips

What is food waste?

The food waste generated in the household can be divided into the following groups according to its avoidance potential:

  • Preparation leftovers: arise when cleaning and preparing fruit, vegetables, fish and meat and are mostly inedible components of the food. Examples are eggshells, coffee stock, shells and bones
  • Leftovers: classic leftovers after a meal
  • Original food: Part of a larger packaging unit or a whole piece of unpackaged food, for example a whole apple
  • Opened food: half-full packages, sliced ​​food

While preparation leftovers can hardly be avoided when using fresh products, the three other types of food waste can theoretically be largely avoided through careful planning, purchasing, storage, processing and use.

Food is precious - what can individuals do? - BMNT

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City of Vienna | environmental Protection
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