In recent years, one of the most critical problems of the global community is the food waste. The problem is constantly discussed and analyzed by authorities, non-governmental organizations and many private companies. The phenomenon is gaining momentum, as with the growth of the world population, migration, tourism and other factors, the demand for food products has increased, and the methods for their purchase and supply have become more diverse.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has characterized food waste as one of the most important global phenomena, especially in developed countries. According to FAO, about a third of the food produced in the world is either lost or spoiled. This figure is about 1.3 billion tons per year. For example, in 2018, waste in industrialized countries amounted to $ 680 billion, and $ 310 billion in developing countries.
Most often, there are thrown away ready-made meals, vegetables and fruits, bread and bakery products.
How does the food become waste:
- in the production process, due to the low resistance of crops to natural disasters, diseases and pests;
- in the sales process, because the markets store products on shelves until they expire instead of donating them;
- at the end consumer for various reasons: purchase of more than it is necessary, mainly due to lack of time or due of promotions such as 2×1, which encourage the consumer to buy excess foods. Another reason is that out of curiosity a consumer can buy the same product from different brands or try a new product that he does not necessarily need.
The effects of food waste are diverse, both financially and in terms of environmental impact. Many wastes go to landfill, where they are incinerated or separated if an appropriate mechanism for waste distribution is developed. But in many countries, waste is not handled properly, and landfills become a source of infection for the whole community.
Several recommendations for combating food waste:
- plan your shopping days and budget, for example, by reducing your purchases to one or two days a week. Thus, you will have time to eat all the products that you have bought and know exactly what do you need. It is recommended that you create a realistic list of products depending on the number of family members. You will save time on transportation, standing in lines and will probably, save some money;
- be prepared for shopping and avoid buying food products when you are very hungry, because you risk buying much more than it is necessary;
- be creative and use the products rationally (for example, some partially damaged vegetables or fruits can be used to make canned foods or in baked products). Damaged products can also serve as animal feed or natural fertilizer;
- put the food in the refrigerator rationally: you can arrange food products in a manner when those you bought earlier are in the foreground, and new purchases are behind them. Thus, you can consume what you have already bought and then enjoy new, fresh products;
- do not hesitate to donate foods that you know you will not eat (fresh or cooked);
- become a "city farmer." If you have free space, for example, on the balcony, arrange a mini-garden with the vegetables and herbs. This will help you reduce costs and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
The problem of food waste in Moldova
In the Republic of Moldova this topic is also starting to become more and more relevant. To this end, the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure has developed a draft law on food waste reduction, which has been published for public discussion since March 2019. The aim of the project is to provide an optimal legal framework for the prevention of food waste in the Republic of Moldova, encouraging individuals / legal entities and government agencies to reduce the amount of food waste in the country.
In this context, certain goals should be set to reduce food waste per capita in a certain period of time: reduction of food waste by 30% over 10 years and by 50% over 15 years.
Today, 50% of food comes from various households, 7% from retail and 5% from the public food sector.
photo source: arcadis.com