More than 50 percent of the waste occurs during production, yield handling and storage phase and the remaining happens during processing, distribution and consumption stages.
In South Africa and other developing countries were more likely to lose or waste food at the upstream phase due to lack of proper harvest techniques and infrastructure.
When food is wasted, the impact on the environment is huge because of all the energy and natural resources it has taken in processing, transporting it, and storing it.
If included in a list of countries ranked according to their greenhouse emissions, food waste would come in the third spot, right after USA and China.
Food waste that ends up in landfills produces a large amount of methane which is a more powerful greenhouse gas than even CO2. To explain, when greenhouse gases such as methane, CO2 and chloroflurocarbons are released into the air, they absorb infrared radiation and heat up the earth’s atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change. Considering that South Africa is especially water-insecure, AND that agriculture accounts for 70% of the water used throughout the world, food waste also represents a great waste of freshwater resources.
FACT: It is said that a volume of water roughly three times the volume of Lake Geneva is used just to produce food that is not eaten.
FACT: By throwing out one kilogram of beef, you are essentially wasting 50,000 liters of water that were used to produce that meat. In the same way, nearly 1000 liters of water are wasted when you pour one glass of milk down the drain.
FACT: Millions of gallons of oil are also wasted every year to produce food that is not eaten.