Fighting climate change by tackling food waste

One-third of all food worldwide ends up in the garbage, with industrialized countries contributing the most. A new foodsharing platform wants to help tackle the impact this has on our climate.

Man working at Leipzig bakery (DW/K. Palme)

It’s raining cats and dogs as Jonas Korn rescues baked goods from being thrown away. It is midday on a Saturday and the Falland bakery in the south of Leipzig is getting ready to close. Five baking trays with cakes, donuts and fruit pastries are lined up on a long counter in the entrance area. Behind it, ten boxes are stacked with rolls, croissants and loves of bread.

“If you were to put all this in a trash can, it would be full. It would fill a 120 liter dumpster,” muses the 26-year-old student.

Read more:  Waste food and emissions: Landfill or the plate?

In order to make sure the leftover products are distributed instead of discarded, Jonas has brought reinforcements: three fellow campaigners from the organization Foodsharing. The online platform links more than 50,000 “food savers” with businesses that want to give away food for free instead of throwing it away.

“According to 2011 estimates, one-third of all food produced globally ends up in the garbage,” says Rosa Rolle, head of the Food Loss and Food Waste Project at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

In total, that is 1.3 billion tons of food per year that goes uneaten. The FAO estimates that collectively this food waste has a CO2 footprint of 3.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide. These figures don’t include the CO2 emissions produced when forests are cleared for animal farming or to create soybean or palm oil plantations. In other words, if food production were a country, it would be the third largest CO2 emitter in the world after the US and China.

Infografik Lebensmittelverschwendung durch Konsumenten EN


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