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Food Waste

Pop Zhang, Ayumi Fukuyama

June 1st 2017

AP Environmental Science

Table of Contents

­ Introduction


Causes of the problem


How did it develop?

­ How was it discovered?

Consequences of the problem ­ Present


Laws and Treaties Future of food waste


­ ­ Solutions Proposed solution to the problem


­ What have other parties done to help solve this issue?

Position of Opposition ­ Rebuttal to opposing position ­ Works Cited



Food is something we all love to eat but do we really know how much is wasted and how that affects our environment? People are starting to realize the importance of food waste and the social, economic and environmental costs associated with it. Remember some of the products you bought at the grocery store? Every year, ⅓ of products that have been produced are wasted which is a large loss in the economical side. Natural resources are wasted at the same time for example growing, processing, packaging, transporting and marketing for food. All this work just to produce something that you would end up throw away and probably do the same thing all over again the next day.

28% the earth's land used for agriculture is wasted because of the amount of food we throw away daily. That's China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan all combined. Not only do we waste land but the amount of water wasted through this whole process is equivalent to all the water in the Zambezi river in africa. With this amount of water, we can cover all the water needs over the world.

When population is growing rapidly while resources are declining, humans can not afford to throw food away like they are doing today.

Cause of the problem

In order to address the root problem of food waste, we should first know where on the supply food chain the food is wasted. And this differs widely between developing and developed countries. In poor, developing countries, food wastage focuses on the production side. Outdated technology and infrastructure for transportation and processing means increased food waste.

Cause of the problem In order to address the root problem of food waste, we should

On the other hand, in wealthy, developed countries, food is wasted at the consumption stage more. The reason why is that is because in highly developed countries, advanced technology in agriculture means that food is plentiful an d cheap. People in these countries spend less of our income on food than most other countries in the world (6% in America compared to 43% in Egypt). Therefore, people often do not

realize the actual value of food and buy more than we need without thinking much . Moreover, we throw away food that is still able to eat. Additionally, low food prices clearly have some connection with high rate of food wastage. In an industrialized food system with low food prices, people always buy extremely fresh, good­looking, perfect, and more foods. Owners of stores will over­stock their shelves, and they will end up wasting all the extra food. Fruits and vegetables usually make up the majority of this on­farm food waste. Ant they are important contributors to food waste in most of the countries.

realize the actual value of food and buy more than we need without thinking much .

Consequences of the problem

Consequences of the problem According to the article, Food Wastage:Key Facts and Figures, from the Food

According to the article, Food Wastage:Key Facts and Figures, from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, wasting 1.3 billion tons of food causes huge economic losses and a lot of needless hunger as well as deeply­connected climate environmental issues. (Food wastage: Key facts and figures) ● The global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tonnes of “primary product equivalents.” ● Food wastage carbon footprint is estimated at 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent of GHG released into the atmosphere per year.

● The total volume of water used each year to produce food that is lost or wasted (250 km 3) is equivalent to the annual flow of Russia's Volga River, or three times the volume of Lake Geneva. ● Similarly, 1.4 billion hectares of land ­ 28 percent of the world's agricultural area ­ is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted. ● A low percentage of all food waste is composted: much of it ends up in landfills, and represents a large part of municipal solid waste. Methane emissions from landfills represents one of the largest sources of GHG emissions from the waste sector. ● Home composting can potentially divert up to 150 kg of food waste per household per year from local collection authorities. ● The direct economic consequences of food wastage (excluding fish and seafood) run to the tune of $750 billion annually.

According to our research, the dorm produces two bags of food waste every day. Each bag can contain 50 pounds of food waste in maximum. So the dorm produces 80­90 pounds of food waste every day. There are 35 people in the dorm in total. Therefore, each person produces around 2.4 pounds of food waste, which is below average according to the data in EPA.


Present Think about how much food you waste in a day. Then combine that with your

Think about how much food you waste in a day. Then combine that with your whole family, then your whole neighbour, then your whole country. Looking at this data, we can see that food waste is still something we struggle with to this day. There are many organizations, projects and law which enforce the limitations food waste. These actions have showed a drastic change in how food waste is used and looking at this date above, change is desperately needed. For an european, they waste a little more than 275 kilograms of food which is basically the weight of half a polar bear. Currently there is enough food produced to feed the whole nation and eliminate starvation but yet, we continue to throw food away without thinking what we can do with it.

Laws and Regulations

Top­down approaches like policy and regulations can be extremely effective in solving the issue of food waste.

For example, in 2012, there was a law passed in Belgium requiring supermarkets donating unsold products to local charities. The action of using the surpluses of these companies’ helps meet the food needs to poor and solve the big problem of food waste. Donating food to the charities can not only spend less on dumpster fees, but also do what is right and good for the society.(The Food Waste Regulations)

In 2010 July, the Waste Management Regulations entered in ireland. The Regulations require all major producers of food waste to place it into a dedicated bin and ensure that it is not mixed with other waste. A brown bin collection service must be used so that the collected food waste is recycled by composting or other process. Alternatively, business affected by this legislation can transport the food waste directly to a recycling plan ot can treat it themselves by installing a properly authorised composing unit. (The Food Waste Regulations)

A key requirement of the Food Waste Regulations is that food waste must be kept separate from other waste. This prevents it becoming contaminated and unsuitable for recycling. The legislation also prevents segregated food waste from being disposed of by being sent to landfill. (The Food Waste Regulations)

Future of food waste The future of food waste looks promising due to the fact that such large corporations such as the WWF, have a large influence on the nation and with the programs they set up which may influence other companies to follow in their footsteps. If these companies did not bring any awareness to this topic, food waste will continue to grow over the years and we should be on a food shortage. Here are two programs that is currently going on and estimated to bring a great benefit to the food waste world.

The first programs is the SCRaP Program. This program is conducted at schools all over the US and what this does is that it spreads the awareness of how much food is being wasted at schools. With this program, the students are physically able to see how much food they waste and learn the connection between how their food waste affects the wildlife.

When we buy fruits and vegetables, they all have the same shape and color. So where does the deformed fruits and vegetables go? They go right in the trash just because they're not pleasing to the eye. Doug Rauch, the ex­president of Trader Joe’s has an idea that these unwanted “ugly” fruits and vegetables would be a large profit if they are sold. Through his idea, Doug worked with farmers, hotels, local supermarkets and hospitals to use the deformed food that is perfect to eat. This project is a continuous act still occurring today and is thought to decrease a large amount of food waste in the near future.

Solution Currently, food waste is still very significant problem but there have been countless projects and awareness on how much food is being wasted, how that can affect us and also how we can recycle the waste. The amount of food waste has continued to slowly increase therefore, the city of Kyoto decided to use the large amounts of waste to convert it to ethanol while promoting recycling. One approach they had towards reducing food waste was to charge money for plastic trash bags. Through this method, food waste had declined by a slight portion but not enough to an extend where food waste was still a problem. In 2011, the City of Kyoto created a new project where food waste and paper were converted to ethanol. The process using a specialized machine which sorts the general waste. After the sorting process, enzymes and yeast are added to the waste which causes saccharification and fermentation, producing a 99.5% concentrated ethanol. From 1 ton of general waste, roughly 60 liters of ethanol is created which then can be used for gasoline or to fuel power generators. Due to the fact that 36.7% of kitchen use is food and 30% is paper waste, this method of converting waste that was completely useless would be a life changing source of energy. (Kyoto has begun a project to convert food waste)

Solution Currently, food waste is still very significant problem but there have been countless projects and

This is a process of how the general waste is converted to ethanol.

( フロ)


Position of opposition/ Rebuttal Using landfills to dispose food waste has significantly helped society to solve the problem of where to put them. However, there are people arguing that composting food waste might not be the best solution overall due to the fact that landfills need to use larger areas of land while composting takes too much time to decompose. Instead of solving the food waste issues by landfills or composting, those people highly recommend the solution of incineration which simply burns the food waste.

These people argued that there are numbers of advantages for incineration. First of all, beside the well­known fact that landfills take enormous place, landfills are also known to produce a lot of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. The production of leachate has been shown to leak from landfills and pollute groundwater. Secondly, people can use waste­to­energy process. This means that incineration can be used to produce electricity and heat that can be used to power and heat nearby buildings.

However, those people often neglect the drawbacks of incineration which exceeds the advantage of incineration. Compared to the pollution caused by landfills, the pollution caused by incineration is way more severe. Smoke and ash emitted from incineration including acid gases, nitrogen oxide, and heavy metals have a deadly effect on humans. Furthermore, incinerations facilities are expensive to build, operate, and maintain. It has also been estimated that composting and recycling conserves 3­5 times more energy than Waste­To­Energy generates.

Work Cited

Kyoto Has Begun a Project to Convert Food Waste and Waste Paper into Ethanol. (n.d.). Retrieved June 01, 2017, from

F. (2013, September 11). Retrieved June 01, 2017, from

Food Waste: Causes, Effects, and Solutions. (2014, November 08). Retrieved June 01, 2017, from­waste­causes­effects­and­solutions/

フロ[Photograph]. (2016, September 9). Kyoto. From

The Food Waste Regulations. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2017, from­content/uploads/2010/06/Click­here­to­download1.pdf

Bill DiBenedetto on Friday, Sep 27th, 2013. (2015, February 07). Food Waste Has a Big Impact on Climate, Water, Land and Biodiversity. Retrieved June 01, 2017, from

Food wastage: Key facts and figures. (n.d.). Retrieved June 01, 2017, from

Food Waste. (n.d.). Retrieved June 01, 2017, from­waste

Rauch, D. (2014, July 28). Selling consumers on “ugly” food. Retrieved June 01, 2017, from­consumers­on­ugly­food/

"Waste Incineration: Advantages and Disadvantages." Greentumble ­ Together to Support Awareness & Conservation Activities . N.p., 18 Sept. 2015. Web. 02 June 2017. <­incineration­advantages­and­disadvantages/>.

"Municipal Solid Waste." EP A . Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 02 June 2017. < >.

"" Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations . N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2017. <­loss­reduction/resources/map/en/ >.

Nationwide, SARE. "Advantages of Composting." SARE: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education . N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2017. <­Center/Books/Building­Soils­for­Better­Crops­3rd­Edition /Text­Version/Making­and­Using­Composts/Advantages­of­Composting >.

"Top Four Predictions on the Future of Food Waste Recycling." PURPOD100™ . N.p., 18 Feb. 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <­four­predictions­on­the­future­of­food­waste ­recycling/ >.

Foundation, GRACE Communications. "Food Waste." GRACE Communications Foundation . N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2017.