When we discuss food waste, we need to address all of its aspects, and not just limit our discussion to greenhouse gas production.
In addition to the generation of methane, food waste has more environmental concerns. These include: wastage from supermarkets, overuse of water during food production, and transportation of food (food miles).
farm

Supermarkets:

 

When you visit the supermarket, all the apples look similar – they all have the same shape, color, and size. But contrary to popular belief, this is not nature’s doing. 

 

When supermarkets grow and receive produce, they regulate the produce heavily; each apple should be exactly like the next. This is so the apple is appealing to the consumer, and the consumer is more likely to purchase the apple. This mentality is called “The Pursuit of Perfection“. Each product should be as close to perfect as it can be; if it’s not, then it gets tossed out. 

 

This mentality leads to:

  • 20 billion pounds of food being thrown out from farms each year
  • 10 million tons of produce go unharvested each year 

 

To find out what you can do to reduce wastage from these supermarkets, click the button to the left. 

irrigation of crops

Water Usage:

 

A key component of food production is water. Water is required to grow any crop, and on farms, these crops are watered through an irrigation system. Consisting mostly of channels, these irrigation systems are programmed to water different crops different amounts. And many of these crops take A LOT of water to grow! Some of the most staggering amounts:

  • 185 gallons to produce a pound of cherries
  • 109 gallons to produce a pound of corn
  • 103 gallons to produce a pound of bananas
  • 84 gallons to produce a pound of apples

 

Meat also requires a lot of water for production – this is due to the fact that there is large amount needed to produce feed and also water the animals. 

It takes 1857 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef and it takes 1382 gallons of water to produce a pound of sausage!

 

In entirety, it takes 660 gallons of water to produce the food that one human eats daily – that is 10,567 cups of water!

 

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Check out this document which includes the amount of water it takes to produce certain foods! 

 

Use the following link: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HL0oIPX4pnBotzju_E0IKjEddcrZnxnOhPoJR4PzHv8/edit?usp=sharing

To find out more about how you can choose your produce and meats with a focus on reducing water usage, click on the button to the left.

produce truck 1

Food Miles:

 

Where does your food come from? Do you grow it in the backyard, or do you purchase it from the supermarket? And if you purchase it from the supermarket, do you really know where the produce originates from?

 

These questions bring us the topic of food miles. Food Miles are the amount of miles (the distance) it takes your food to travel from where it was harvested to your plate. Most ingredients travel more than 1,500 miles before landing on your plate! 

 

But, to transport this food, the use of cars, trucks, and boats is required; these modes of transportation utilize fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel to run. And the burning of these fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide which ends up in our atmosphere. 

 

The transportation all of the hamburgers in the United States produces annual carbon emissions which are equal to 6.5 million SUVs!

 

And even if you don’t eat hamburgers, the average person uses 500 gallons of gasoline each year for food transportation. 

That is 500 gallons of fossil fuels which contribute to greenhouse gas production!

To learn more about how to reduce your food miles, click on the link to the left.