If you’re aware of the problem of food waste, the first thing that comes to mind might be the piles of rotting, methane gas-producing waste consigned to landfill sites.
What you might not think about however is the sheer scale of resources wasted in the production of all this food that is being tossed away. Water is a huge one. Over 20% of the freshwater used to grow food being wasted every year. That totals around 45 trillion gallons of water worldwide.
Products such as meat, vegetables and fruit require an enormous quantity of water and so when those items are wasted, the water footprint is huge. Throwing an apple in the bin is equivalent to throwing out 25 gallons of water. Disposing of just one egg is effectively pouring 50 gallons of water down the drain.
A Water Crisis
With a growing population and an increasingly unstable climate, we’re facing a water crisis. This crisis is not about having too little water for the growing needs (although it most likely will be in the future as the population rapidly increases). It’s about how to manage the supplies that we have.
The world is made up of 70% water, yet only 2.5% of this is freshwater and only 1% of it is easily accessible. With 70% of the world’s freshwater being used in the agriculture sector, these supplies are precious. Yet we waste them every time food is wasted.
The answer? We need to change our food habits and prevent food waste wherever we can. Or else we will face an even bigger challenge in the future.