Do you know that more than 40% of food produced in India is wasted ?
Inspite of adequate food production , India’s ranking is 103 in global hunger index. According to UN approximately 190 million Indians remain undernourished. Estimated value of food wastage in India is ₹ 92,000 crore per annum.
Why the data seems so much scarious ? Do you know how much you contribute to this wastage of food ?
Well , next time if you go to a wedding , or a party , or function , just observe everyone around you , you yourself”ll get the answers of these questions. Just observe people in restaurants or observe everyone in your house.
And if you want to see the dark side of India , then just move out of your house , & observe people around the bins. There’re a lot who just eat food from the dustbins. Can you just imagine about them ?
There’s a lot of leftover but edible food which can be provided to those who need this. Many NGOs work in this direction. They collect the leftover edible food from restaurants , households , weddings & from other sources & provide them to the needy.
It’s not always like that , one can also leave some food in their plates when it’s simply not edible or when she/he isn’t feeling good.
And this leftover food from your plates then go to dustbins & then it decompose in landfills. This leads to the emission of green house gases like CO2 & CH4 .
The impacts of food waste on the global scale are huge. According to the World Resources Institute, if food waste was a country, it would be the world’s third largest carbon emitter after the USA and China.
Food waste rotting in landfills produce millions of tonnes of methane in CO2 equivalents , a measure that directly compares the global warming potential of pollutants.
But do you know that wasted food can be used effectively ?
Yes , food waste can be transformed into valuable resources. It can be used as fertilizer , can be transformed into energy , & can be transformed into a bunch of innovative products , from pharmaceuticals to building materials.
Food waste can be recycled to produce nutrient rich fertilisers. Household composting recycles food waste in an environment where lot of oxygen is available. Fungi and bacteria break down the proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the waste into compost and CO2. The CO2 released from the breakdown of organic materials returns to the atmosphere , which is then captured by the plants. So it’s a carbon-neutral process.
Food waste can generate sustainable energy through waste-to-energy processes , where organic waste is used to generate electricity or heat. It is categorised as renewable energy. Various technologies are available to generate such energy ,although they do produce greenhouse gases like CO2, methane and nitrous oxide, so measures should be taken to reduce these emissions.
Extractions from the food waste can be used in production of biofuels like biodiesel & bioethanol.
Fruits and vegetables have the highest wastage rates of any food products. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that globally, 45 per cent of fruits and vegetables are wasted along the supply chain. But these scrapped by-products can be reprocessed into functional and valuable products.
There are researches investigating how mango seeds could be used to make surfboard wax & fibres in root vegetables could be used in super strong concrete. Rice husks have variety of applications , such as cement, insulators, adsorbents and various construction material.They can also be ground with glass to create lightweight bricks that are resistant to fire and termites.
Discarded parts of fruits & vegetables are often rich in bioactive phytochemicals. These extracts can be used in pharmaceuticals , dietary supplements & food preservatives. Extracts & oils derived from food waste also be used in cosmetics.
The essential chemicals needed to create bioplastics include various carbs, fats and cellulose fibre that can be extracted from food waste using methods like freeze drying and hydrodynamic shockwave technology. Bioplastics ,are plastics produced from renewable sources and can be used for packaging, coatings and adhesives.Turning food waste into bioplastics can reduce food and plastic waste. It could also minimize the emissions associated with plastic production.
There’s need to reliase that this waste is not only causing social & economical problem but is also a cause of green house gases emissions, & thus is a harm for the environment.
Obviously , we should think of alternate ways to transform the waste into resource but our first priority should be to minimize the waste.
Avoid wastage of food. Provide the leftover edible food to those who need this instead of throwing this out. Use the leftover food as fertilizer