This year, the United Nations Environment Programme's slogan for World Environment Day is "Think.Eat.Save" to bring attention to the problem of food waste. In honor of this theme, we've collected TreeHugger's best stories about reducing the 1.3 billion tons of food that are wasted each year.
In lower-income countries, food waste tends to occur more in the earlier stages of the supply chain, due to problems with harvesting and storage. In high-income nations, much food waste occurs at the later stages of the supply chain. A number of food industry giants have pledged to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste in the distribution and retail process. We've written about how Tesco, Unilever and General Mills plan to reduce food waste. Similarly, 100 restaurants in New York City have pledged to reduce their food waste.
Government agencies also play a role in food waste, which is why the EPA announced the U.S. Food Waste Challenge yesterday.
United Nations Environment Programme has found consumer behavior also has a lot to do with food waste, particularly in high-income countries. There's a lot individuals can do solve the problem. To get inspired, check out this slide show of vintage posters from a time when food waste was a national security interest. To get practical, here's the best advice from our readers.
It's a sad paradox that although so much food is wasted globally, many people are faced with food insecurity. There's much work to be done to get food to people who need it before it goes to the landfill, but harnessing information technology offers a potential solution. For example, students from Arizona State University have created an app to power a food recovery network.
Food scraps still have value even if they're inedible, but according to the EPA food waste makes up 13.9 percent the U.S. landfills. Combine this with yard trimmings, and organic matter that could be composted makes up the second highest component of waste materials, after paper and cardboard. If you've got a backyard or garden plot, we have lots of advice to get your compost pile started. If you're apartment-bound, check out my recent story about the compost pickup service that could be a model for all of New York City.
Cutting down on food waste conserves natural resources, saves money, can fight climate change and is key to combating food insecurity globally. It's great that World Environment Day will bring attention to this vitally important issue.