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September 29th: A day dedicated to food waste
The International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2019 to raise awareness on the importance of addressing food loss and waste and its connection to food security and climate. Food loss and waste occurs at a staggering rate, with approximately 13% of the world’s food lost between farm and consumer, and an additional 17% wasted at the consumer, food service, and retail level. Additionally, approximately 780 million people faced hunger in 2022.
Food loss and waste occur for many reasons. Food loss can happen at the farm level, in storage, in transit, and in processing. Food waste happens at the retail and consumer levels. Identifying the exact reasons or sources of the loss or waste, and quantifying the amounts, can be challenging.
Food is the single largest component taking up space in US landfills, making up 22% of municipal solid waste (MSW).
Anthesis identified and helped Nature’s Touch implement 13 recommendations that decreased food waste throughout various stages of processing.
- Financial | $824,100 per year
- Environmental | 422 tonnes CO2e and 276,022 kg of food waste/year
- Social | 195,000 meals
Addressing food waste as a climate solution
Wasted food equates to wasting the resources that go into growing, harvesting, preparing, and transporting that food, including water, animal feed, fertilizer, energy, fuel, and human labor time. 11% of the world’s emissions are greenhouse gases – and wasted food is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases. By reducing the amount of waste occurring, significant cost savings can be realized.
As Scope 3 voluntary and mandatory reporting increases and companies look for opportunities to reduce their Scope 3, food presents an important opportunity to address waste in operations, purchased goods and services, and of end of life of sold products.
In addition, food waste diversion laws are becoming more common at the state and city level. California’s legislation is particularly progressive, encompassing businesses, multi-family residences, single-family residences, public schools, and government entities. Companies that understand their sources of food loss and waste, have strong mechanisms in place to track waste data, and take strategic action to address their waste will be better positioned to comply with regulations, realize cost savings, and face the ever-changing corporate climate future.
Companies are increasingly setting goals and taking action to reduce food loss and waste to meet their sustainability commitments and signal that commitment to customers.
How Anthesis can help
The first steps a company can take to address the amount of food loss and waste in their operations is to gather quantitative and qualitative data on how much waste is occurring, how it is occurring, and why. This information can then be used to identify and assess solutions and develop an action plan to reduce and eliminate food loss and waste. At Anthesis, we support clients with these steps. Our goal is to first eliminate waste from occurring as much as possible, and then find the highest and best use for unavoidable waste whether it be upcycling of byproducts, donation for human consumption, anaerobic digestion, or traditional composting.