It’s Your Day, Environment!

Today is World Environment Day. So buy the environment a drink. Or better yet, don’t waste any food.

I’m not a huge fan of these kinds of days–except for National Ice Cream Day (July 19), of course–but they do force us to take stock. And for me, that means reflecting on the significant environmental impact of wasted food. Both in the terms of the energy, water and land used in vain to create food that is squandered and the methane emissions from food being landfilled. Given all of that, wasted food has a rather large carbon footprint. How large? Well…

image courtesy of Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition

Thanks for that, Barilla and for your Milan Protocol, pushing to halve global food waste by 2020. Also, I love how the garbage bag in the above graphic represents the 1/3 of food wasted globally, but the Foodwasteland flag needs a little work.

Back to the matter at hand, how many people know about wasted food’s carbon footprint? And how many of those people care? A soon-to-be-released survey out of Johns Hopkins (check back here Wednesday for more on it) gauged US consumer attitudes and awareness on food waste issues. In response to the question ‘what motivates you to reduce food discards,’ the ‘greenhouse gases, energy and water’ choice came in dead last.

Only about 40 percent of respondents found that environmental motivation to be a ‘very important’ or ‘important’ reason to avoid wasting food. It finished beneath these choices:

  • Saving money
  • Setting an example for children
  • Managing household efficiently
  • Thinking about hungry people
  • Guilt about waste in general
  • Making a difference through my actions
  • Regret about time/money spent

And this is where our work lies. On #WED2016, will the environmental factors rank higher? Let’s hope so. Let’s make it so.

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