Over 800 million people, most of which live in poor countries, do not have enough to eat. At the same time, so much of the food we produce in the world is wasted or lost. Given that how we produce food today has a huge impact on the environment, we should all be more mindful of what we eat and know that our choices affect people around us as well as our planet. Here are 10 interesting facts about food waste for kids to learn.
We throw away almost one-third of the food we produce. That is more than 1 billion tons!
The food we waste is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, way more than all the emissions we generate from flying and producing plastic!
Producing food requires a lot of water. To make one burger, we need almost 3,000 litres of water (or 660 gallons). This means that when you throw away one burger, you waste as much water as if you would shower for one and a half hours!
If food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.
So many people around the world do not have enough food to eat on a daily basis. In fact, almost 800 million people are undernourished.
Just one-quarter of the food we currently waste could be enough to feed all undernourished people in the world.
The average European and North American throws away between 95kg and 115kg of food. That is almost the same weight as a giant panda! In comparison, Asians are doing much better, wasting ‘only’ 6kg to 11kg per person every year.
Fruit and vegetables are the most important food groups as they provide your body with a lot of very important nutrients. But they are also the type of food that is wasted the most. Every year, we throw away nearly half of the fruit and greens we grow.
Too often we throw away fresh produce because it looks “ugly”. However, a bruise on an apple or a yellow leaf on our salad head does not immediately mean that we cannot eat them!
It might sound surprising but we actually do have enough food in the world to feed everyone! What is wrong is the way we distribute it and the food choices we make. It is important that we start to understand the impact that certain foods have on the environment to make better eating choices. Learning this while we are still young will make us more conscious adults in the future!
Martina is an environmental journalist based in Hong Kong. She holds two Bachelor's degrees, one in Journalism and one in Translation and Interpreting Studies as well as a Master's degree in International Development. Passionate about writing and languages, her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection, especially in developing countries. She has extensive experience working as a journalist and in 2020, she joined the outreach team of the United Nations Global Communication Department. She currently works for Earth.Org and is the website's main writer and editor.