Topic – Food Waste in Australia
Subject – Home Economics
Issue statement: If we are truly concerned about our environment the war on waste begins with food, convenience will cost us our future.
Investigate the impact that food waste is having on our environment locally and globally, analyse and explain the areas that generate the largest amounts of waste in the community. Synthesise your researched information, to draw conclusions regarding the impacts on our future if our energy/ buying habits do not change. Justify your conclusion. Make recommendations as to ways the environmental impacts created by food waste can be reduced.
Include properly set out and accurate Bibliography. Use an appendix for additional information.
The term “food wastage” can be defined as the discarding of food or making any non-use of food that is safe and healthy for human consumption. It is recognized as a form of food loss since the specific drivers that cause it are different from the ones that generate the solution. The food wastage is a major concern all around the globe that has an adverse impact on the overall environment and the quality of life of mankind. According to OzHarvest, enough food is produced around the globe to feed all the people but one-third of this food is lost or wasted which comes to around 1.3 billion tonnes of food (The Nest – wearethenest.com, 2017). About half of all the produced fruits and vegetables are wasted. If the wastage of food is effectively controlled, it is assumed that it could save almost 4.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum (Booth & Whelan, 2014). If the wastage of food as a nation then it would be the third biggest nation that would emit the greenhouse gasses after the United States of America and China.
Food wastage in Australia
The food wastage trend in Australia is extremely negative since the Government estimates that due to food wastes, the Australian economy loses about $ 20 billion every year. Around 4 million tonnes of food ultimately ends up as a landfill and this quantity is sufficient to fill almost 8,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. About 35% of an Average Australian household bin is food waste (Evans, Campbell & Murcott, 2013). These statistical facts show a grim reality that has an adverse impact on the environment. According to Lucy (2017), Australians discard $10 billion worth of edible food (Lucy, 2017).
Even though the people on the island nation are trying to reduce the food wastage, various surveys that have been conducted indicate that more quantity of food is being wasted by them as compared to the last two years. The high wastage of food is not just bad for the economy but also for the environment (Graham-Rowe, Jessop & Sparks, 2014). Due to the poor utilization of proper quality food, the resources in the form of fruits, vegetables, and livestock are getting wasted for unnecessary reasons.
Food wastage – A serious Environmental Issue
The state of the environment in which mankind exists is extremely grave. The delicate condition of the environment is due to a number of factors such as bleaching events across the Great Barrier Reef, global warming, gas crisis, deforestation, etc. As per Lang & Heasman, the food wastage that is occurring in almost every household is further adversely affecting the environment and the members that live in it. It is another environmental concern that might not be very prominent but has a vital influence on the quality of the environment (Lang & Heasman, 2015). The food wastes at the domestic level, commercial level and industrial level in Australian are very costly since it could be used to feed millions of people around the globe.
According to Lawrence, Richards & Lyons (2013), the food that is wasted in the developed world is almost equivalent to the food that is annually produced in the sub-Saharan African region. The economic, environmental and social benefits that man could enjoy by eliminating the food wastage are immense (Lawrence, Richards & Lyons, 2013). At the global level, it could be utilized to save about 250 million megaliters of freshwater, 28 percent of the arable land. It could also prevent the emission of about 3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses that pollute the atmosphere. The reduction in this wastage would also help to reduce the total carbon dioxide emission that is associated with it (The Nest – wearethenest.com, 2017).
Strategies to eliminate food wastage
Different innovative strategies have been introduced in Australia in order to have better control over the wastage of consumable foods. Technological advancement and innovation could be used to reduce this wastage. The kind of fridges that are used in households has a vital impact on the quantity of food that is wasted. Now people are embracing the French door fridge and the Family Hub fridge so that they can cut the wastage of food. As per Australians @ HOME 2.0 survey results by Samsung Australia, 72% of Australians are interested in the new form of technology that would help them to keep a tap on the food that is kept inside their fridge (Vandermeersch et al., 2014). Similarly, other methods like better packaging designs, better storage facilities and stock rotation at the production level could be beneficial that would decline the amount of food that is lost due to wastage.
Since the huge wastage of food that is taking place could ultimately affect all the people that live in the environment, it is high time to minimize this food wastage in the nation so that the food that is produced and purchased can be optimally used. New and innovative strategies could come into play so that the food wastage trend is not encouraged. Due to the high wastage of consumable food items, nearly 3 million people in the nation are living in poverty, out of which one quarter are children (Lang & Heasman, 2015).
Since the food wastage issue arises at both the individual level and at the industrial level, there is a need to formulate strategies at a personal level in order to control and minimize the quantity of food that is wasted. The latest innovations in the technological field could come into play that would help individuals to keep a track of the food that is available to them. This step would allow them to eliminate unnecessary purchases of food. Instead of wasting the consumable food, people could opt to give it to the needy and poor people so that it could be productively used.
It is high time for Australia and all the nations to take a stand against food wastage because it has a negative impact on the environment. Various institutions and individuals must come together in order to devise effective strategies to extend the life of food products so that the ultimate loss of consumable food in form of waste can be minimized. The effective control of food wastage would primarily help society and the environment.
Booth, S. and Whelan, J., 2014. Hungry for change: the food banking industry in Australia. British Food Journal, 116(9), pp.1392-1404.
Evans, D., Campbell, H. and Murcott, A., 2013. Waste matters: new perspectives of food and society. Wiley-Blackwell.
Graham-Rowe, E., Jessop, D.C. and Sparks, P., 2014. Identifying motivations and barriers to minimising household food waste. Resources, conservation and recycling, 84, pp.15-23.
Lang, T. and Heasman, M., 2015. Food wars: The global battle for mouths, minds and markets. Routledge.
Lucy Cormack. 2017. Food waste averages $3800 per household, yet food insecurity at ‘crisis’ point. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/food-waste-averages-3800-per-household-yet-food-insecurity-at-crisis-point-20170602-gwj1eg.html. [Accessed 21 October 2017].
Lawrence, G., Richards, C. and Lyons, K., 2013. Food security in Australia in an era of neoliberalism, productivism and climate change. Journal of Rural Studies, 29, pp.30-39.
The Nest – wearethenest.com.au. 2017. Food Waste Facts – OzHarvest. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ozharvest.org/what-we-do/environment-facts/. [Accessed 21 October 2017].
Vandermeersch, T., Alvarenga, R.A.F., Ragaert, P. and Dewulf, J., 2014. Environmental sustainability assessment of food waste valorization options. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 87, pp.57-64.
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