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The world wastes $400 billion in food every year

food waste

27 February 2015 - The food discarded by retailers and consumers in the most developed countries would be more than enough to feed all of the world's 870 million hungry people, according to a new study by the UK-based Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). One third of all food ends up as waste, with a global cost of more than $400 billion annually.

That could increase to $600 billion within a decade as a heavily consuming middle class population grows around the world.
The report cites ways in which reductions in waste could save between $120 and $300 billion a year and limit some of the stresses on the planet caused by the food production system.

Air pollution

This is also an important issue in terms of air pollution: As food waste in landfills decomposes it emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas creating 3.3 billion metric tons annually. This is about 7 percent of the total global emissions, according to the report.

"Food waste is a global issue and tackling it is a priority." says Dr. Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems at WRAP "This report emphasises the benefits that can be obtained for businesses, consumers and the environment. The difficulty is often in knowing where to start and how to make the biggest economic and environmental savings." Consumers had a vital role to play, he added: "In the UK, where we are based, the majority of food waste occurs in the home."

Food waste in developing countries

WRAP also highlighted that one-quarter of food waste in the developing world could be eliminated with better refrigeration equipment. "Practical changes, such as lowering the average temperatures of refrigerators or designing better packaging, can make a considerable difference in preventing spoilage," the organization stated in a press release.

The report was produced for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and contains data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

To consult the report please visit this webpage:


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