The WWF has published a new report that showcases the level of food waste globally, including South Africa, the report at a glance mentions:
- In South Africa, a third of all food is never consumed and ends up at rubbish dumps.
- This waste is in stark contrast to the millions of South Africans that are going hungry.
- Water and energy costs mean food wastage comes at a very high price to the economy and environment.
- Many actions needed to reduce food waste are already well formulated. The challenge is embedding this knowledge within government, businesses and households.
- Government has made a global commitment to halve food waste by 2030.
- Reducing food waste could be a fundamental strategy for improving food security.
The energy wasted every year in South Africa for producing food that is not eaten is estimated as enough to power the City of Johannesburg for roughly 16 weeks. The wasted embedded water would fill over 600 000 Olympic swimming pools – a massive waste for SA, the 30th driest country on the planet. About 90% of waste in SA is disposed of to landfills, where the food-waste component leads to the production of methane gas and carbon dioxide. Successfully cutting food loss and waste is a chance to turn around severe food insecurity felt by significant portions of the population.
Reasons for household food waste include date codes – specifically sell-by and expiry dates, product appearance, forgotten produce in fridges and cupboards, poor protection due to packaging not being resealable, preparing too much, slow consumption, pests or buying too much. Some of the most wasted fruits and vegetables include bananas, apples, avos, tomatoes, potatoes and lettuce.