21 February: Reduce food waste

Daniel Blackman, USA “Food waste undermines food security. In America, for example, we waste an unimaginable amount of food. 40 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away while around the world 805 million people go to bed hungry each night I’ve set myself the goal of buying only the food I need and making sure I consume it all. It feels good to know I’m doing the right thing.”

Reduce food waste. Buy only the food you need. Eat or give away all the food you buy.


Approximately one-third of the food produced for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

Although this loss happens everywhere, it is not evenly distributed. Consumers in wealthy countries waste as much food as the entire net production of sub-Saharan Africa.

The reasons for food waste differ by region. In developing countries, most waste occurs before the food reaches the consumer, and is a result of structural challenges like poor refrigeration, unreliable roads, and lack of coordination between producers. In more developed countries, most waste occurs at retail outlets, where a flawless appearance is highly valued, and in the homes of consumers, where much of the purchased food is thrown away.

If food waste occurs in your household, consider the following ways to alleviate it.

  • Reduce the amount of food you buy.
  • Do not buy new food until all of the food you have is eaten.
  • Use all parts of the food you buy.
  • Compost any food that you are unable to use.
  • Speak with local retailers about possible ways to reduce waste.

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