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CSU SOC 100 - Food Waste

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Emma Krier Jason DowningSOC 2204 April, 2022Food Waste Within SocietyIt is a daily occurrence for many to not finish their plate when granted food. Yet many are not cautious of the food that is not getting finished. There are others located around the world who are questioning when their next meal is going to be. Those who are scarce of food wish to be granted more food while those who receive the food are unaware of the waste that goes around them. When receiving a meal one does not like that gets tossed right into the garbage is not the only form of food waste that occurs daily. Our culture consists of taking what is gifted to us for granted, unaware and avoiding situations that are worse. Food waste is an ongoing issue that has a serious cause and effect on populations globally. Food WasteFood waste can be referred to as the food that completes the supply chain and can be consumed, yet gets thrown out although it has not gone bad. In the United States, up to 40% of the food apart of the supply chain never gets eaten. Yet while this is happening around one in eight Americans struggle to provide food for their families. Christopher Testani from NRDC explains within his article, “An enormous amount of resources and energy go into growing, processing, transporting, and eventually disposing of all that wasted food. That includes climate-wrecking greenhouse gas emissions at every stageof the food system, plus water, fertilizer, packaging, labor, and more.” (Testani) NRDC focuses their work around the importance of food waste. Food waste is not associated with just the food that goes downthe drain. Food waste can be related to a chain effect. Just because half of a sandwich was thrown out does not mean just the food is thrown out. The half of the sandwich that was thrown out also accounts for the water wasted, fertilizer that was used to help grow the lettuce, packaging used to contain the meat, andthe labor of the farmers who grew the wheat for the bread. In 2012, NRDC calculated that 40% of food wasted equals around 400 pounds of food per person each year. From here the numbers have continued to rise due to the overproduction of food. The overproduction of food has been calculated to, “...$218 billion, costing a household of four an average of $1,800 annually.” (NRDC) Ongoing issues occurring with food waste relates to issues with food security. Food security is “…a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (FAO) Yet, if people continue to waste their food we societies will fall into a food insecurity. Falling into food insecurity existswhen people do not have the ability to financially or economically access to food. Food insecurity is common within the United States. As of 2020, 30.8 million in the United States live in fear of not knowing when their next meal is going to be. These numbers consist of 6.1 million households with children and 9.4 million adults. (USDA) Food insecurity can cause various issues within a society which later then affects the economy. Food Waste Effects on the EnvironmentFood waste does not just affect humans, it has a powerful effect on our earth. Jean Buzby from the U.S. Department of Agriculture who specializes in food and nutrition explains, “Food loss and waste also exacerbates the climate change crisis with its significant greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. Production, transportation, and handling of food generate significant Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions and when food ends up in landfills, it generates methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas.” (Jean Buzby 2022) The production of many processed foods includes the use of factories. United States factories produce 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage and waste into waters and around 3 million tons of toxic chemicals, all while using 16 billion gallons of water per day. (Solum) All of these pollutants can cause many different health effects within the human populations such as heart health, lung health, andeven possible brain damage. The factories that produce these packaged foods also have a high production of plastic due to having to package these foods. On top of the factories producing enormous amounts of pollution, they are also producing large amounts of plastic that also have a strong negative effect on the environment. This plastic includes chip bags, packages to hold lunch meat, or packages that would hold things such as snack foods. Many of the plastic produced also failed to be wasted correctly. The plastic that is thrown out is then taken to landfills which continue to pollute the earth even more. Plastic waste is one of the most common forms of pollution especially within the ocean. Plastic pollution causes damage to the animals and the environment in many different ways. The animals within certain areas will mistake the plastic as a form of food. Once this plastic becomes ingested and enters the digestive system, the chances of the plastic becoming caught up within other intestines causing further issues and possible death becomes very high. Plastic is not meant to be digested and is also not biodegradable so the plastic ends up causing harm to the environment wherever the plastic ends up. Food Waste Within CulturesMany different places around the world have different impacts when it comes to food waste. As of 2021, it was measured that Nigeria is the result for having the most food waste within our world. Following closely behind is Greece. China and India although have the highest amount of household food waste. Studies have conducted that what is most commonly wasted is fresh produce. This includes foods such as fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce only has a shelf span of about one to two weeks, with produce that is made with GMOs can sometimes last longer. This very reason is why many people will then resort to buying packaged and canned food that is for one cheaper and two has a longer shelf span. This then correlates to more production of food from factories and more packaged plastic is also produced, which leads to more pollution. China and India both are top contributors to the earth’s pollution. As of 2019, China had more than 10,065 million tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere. Having this much production affects our ozone layer causing climate change to worsen and heat


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