Why Is It Important to Reduce Food Wastage? How Can Unavoidable Food Wastage Be Recycled Sustainably?

Global food wastage is the world’s third largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, after China and the US (FAO 2015). The food that goes off and is discarded globally could feed three billion people (FAO 2013). In Sweden, we threw away 1.3 million tonnes of waste food in 2016, not including waste food from primary production (agriculture, fishing, fruit farms and horticulture). Households are responsible for most of this. Waste food from shops, restaurants and households in Sweden fell between 2012 and 2014 (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 2014b, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 2012). Waste food from households and the food industry fell between 2014 and 2016 (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 2018). Bread, dairy products, fruit and vegetables are some of the most commonly discarded foods. In general, animal products have a greater environmental impact per kilogram than vegetable products.

The UN’s 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) was adopted in September 2015. Interim goal 12.3 relating to food wastage in Agenda 2030 involves halving global food wastage per person in stores and at the consumer level and reducing food wastage throughout the entire food supply chain, including losses after harvesting, between 2015 and 2030.1 Sweden has subscribed to these goals and is working to help attain them.

From a resource perspective, waste should be prevented rather than dealing with it once it has been generated. Therefore, action should be taken early on in the food supply chain in the first instance. Food donations or recycling are important for any food for which no market can be found earlier on in the food supply chain. Encouraging increased utilisation of unavoidable waste food for biogas production is one of the goals adopted by the National Food Administration, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. With our circular farming process, Bonbio can help to attain this goal and make the most of unavoidable food waste in a sustainable way.