An estimated 931 million tonnes of food is wasted every single year, equalling the weight of 23 million fully-loaded 40-tonne trucks, enough to circle the Earth 7 times, according to a new report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The Food Waste Index Report 2021, which was published by UNEP and its partner organisation WRAP, looked at the food waste that occurs in retail outlets, restaurants and homes.
According to the report, an estimated 931 million tonnes of food, or 17% of total food available to consumers in 2019, went into the waste bins of households, retailers, restaurants and other food services.
The report finds that in nearly every country that has measured food waste, the amount wasted was substantial, regardless of income level. This shows that most of this waste comes from households, which discard 11% of the total food available at the consumption stage of the supply chain.
On a global per capita-level, 121 kilograms of consumer-level food is wasted each year, with 74 kilograms of this happening in households.
With 690 million people affected by hunger in 2019, a number expected to rise sharply with Covid-19, the UNEP has highlighted that consumers need help to reduce food waste at home.
Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, said: ‘Reducing food waste would cut greenhouse gas emissions, slow the destruction of nature through land conversion and pollution, enhance the availability of food and thus reduce hunger and save money at a time of global recession.
‘If we want to get serious about tackling climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, businesses, governments and citizens around the world have to do their part to reduce food waste. The UN Food Systems Summit this year will provide an opportunity to launch bold new actions to tackle food waste globally.’
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