One-third of all the food produced in the world is thrown away every year.
In other words, one trillion dollars worth of food ends up in the rubbish. At the same time, 800 million people go to bed hungry and could be fed if only a quarter of the food thrown away in the United States, Britain and Europe were stored.
Food waste is one of the biggest problems in the modern world. As the United Nations points out, if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the United States and China. Food waste is an economic, environmental and moral problem, yet, despite the alarming data and the declared commitment of most countries to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030, it seems that no progress has been made.
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According to the United Nations data, 1.3 billion tonnes of food ends up in rubbish bins annually. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, the figures are even more devastating, as 45% is thrown away. Food waste in industrialized countries amounts to 680 billion dollars, while in developing countries, it is half that amount – 310 billion dollars.
Annual per capita waste in Europe and North America is between 95 and 115 kilogrammes, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia throw away only 6 to 11 kilogrammes of food per year.
In order to grow food, that is subsequently thrown away, an area larger than China is needed, as are 25% of the world’s freshwater reserves. To grow a single tomato, 13 litres of water is needed and 50 litres of water to grow an orange. There are other resources – farmers’ work, the fuel needed for transportation, packaging – that are lost along with the orange that is thrown in the rubbish.
In Serbia, it is more convenient to throw away food than to donate it
According to unofficial information, 250,000 tonnes of food are thrown away every year in Serbia; that is 35 kilogrammes per capita. The latest research conducted by NALED shows that this number if we look at the field-to-table waste, is much higher, i.e. almost 900,000 tonnes of food waste are generated every year.
Most of the waste is generated by households, restaurants and the public sector. NALED points out that 99% of the waste generated in catering facilities ends up landfills, from where methane and carbon dioxide are released into the air. Only 1% is used for biogas, compost, animal feed and donations.
According to the current regulation, due to the legal obligation for food donors to pay tax on donated food, it is more convenient to throw away the food than to donate it. A proposal has been made that food donors be exempt from paying the VAT, which should be resolved by the law on food surpluses, the adoption of which is still pending. The law has not yet been drafted, although the working group (which was supposed to draft it) was formed in 2015.
This post is also available in: Italiano