The Path to Drawdown: Food Waste
Producing and preparing food is resource intensive - it takes water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labor, transportation, and financial capital to make it happen. So when food is wasted, either in transit, grocery stores, restaurants, or households, those resources are wasted. In fact, somewhere between 30-40% of the food raised or prepared never makes it to people's mouths.
Food waste accounts for 4.4 gigatons of greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere, or roughly 8% of total human-caused emissions. In low-income countries, food waste happens because of poor storage conditions, inadequate equipment or packaging, and a combination of heat and humidity. In higher-income countries, most of the food waste happens further down the supply chain: retailers reject food based on their aesthetic appearance or consumers overestimate how much food they will cook in a given week.
Solutions to food waste abound. Things as simple as using improved storage bags, silos or crates during transit can make a difference early in the supply chain. At the retail and consumer levels, setting food waste targets, generating public awareness about the issue, and changing consumer behavior toward food would greatly reduce waste.
Project Drawdown estimates that if these solutions are aggressively pursued, we can cut 101.7 gigatons of greenhouse gases from food waste between now and 2050.