Here in Sheffield, there is a Japanese restaurant called Tsuki that charges its customers extra for any leftover food present on the plate. Weird? Stingy? Maybe. But maybe it is the smartest way to shake people into their senses. Today, around 1.3 billion tons of food is lost each year out of which 50% of it is lost in the production stage itself.
The question that rises is how does this affect the environment?
With almost 8 meals being wasted every week in average by every family, there is a severe toll that it takes on the environment with respect to fuel, energy, transportation, and water consumption. Moreover, around 25 million tons of carbon dioxide is release into the atmosphere due to this food waste itself. Besides that, this waste accounts for around $750 billion lost each year. Now that’s a lot of money! Curbing food waste could prevent any sort of big economical crisis and financial burdens faced by underdeveloped countries. For instance, the Sub-Saharan countries could be benefited by around $40 million dedicated to only agriculture and food production by just a reduction of 1% in food loss.
Here comes the big fact – if food wastage was a country of its own, it would stand 3rd after China and the USA in being the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.
So how do we turn this the other way round?
The US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Agriculture aims to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. There are very simple ways for this aim to be accomplished. For instance, you can plan your shopping in a manner that not only prevent food wastage but also saves money. Several companies have now developed apps that help you plan your weekly meals that will let you abide by that while going grocery shopping. We all know how tempting it is to just buy everything the hand touches in a supermarket! Influencers today on social media are also getting super creative with their recipes. We have all heard the term “best out of waste,” now its time to apply that to food. There are several yummy recipes on making delicious meals out of leftover food.
UEFA launched its Football Sustainability Strategy 2030 which also focuses on circular economy that hopes to radically reduce the use of raw material, food wastage and amount of plastic discarded in the process. Focusing on the 4Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover; UEFA promotes and supports the Zero Waste Week in conjunction to its circular economy guidelines.
And now, heres the twist!
There are several companies that are introducing food waste into fashion. Allegorie is a company that produces accessories from discarded fruit waste. They use a combination of plant-based polymer materials and recycled polyester to reduce energy consumption by 84%. Another brand called Desserto in Mexico, uses a specific kind of cactus to make alternative cruel-free leather for its products. This company recently joined hands with Adidas and BMW to promote this plant-based leather.
Trust me, fashion just goes with everything.
I am proud to say that my University (University of Sheffield) has its own dedicated wing for efficient energy consumption and food wastage. This wing contributes to the World Bank report to find green ways to improve food security.
So the next time you go grocery shopping, think twice before you purchase a food product!