It is strange that while “a staggering 40 per cent of the food produced in the developed world (and 30 per cent worldwide) is never consumed” (Chavich, 2015), another similarly significant portion of the world’s population has almost nothing to eat. Food waste in industrialized countries are discarded or thrown away because they did not meet the cosmetic requirement of retailers that either they are not the right size or shape. In fact, food waste is so excessive that in America alone, they are estimated to be worth $150 billion (Chavich, 2015). There may have band aid solutions that are in place to channel these excess food productions to become useful. Some these initiatives include using them to feed hungry people at the Rainbow Kitchen and the carrot tops and corn husks that shoppers leave behind are picked to feed chickens and pigs and the rest are composted. The mere fact that we still have food excess that goes to our landfill, it only implies that the present initiatives and solutions are not enough and we have to do more. The discarded foods that did not meet the cosmetic standard of retailers can still be sold at discount prices. We should also expand the coverage of charitable giving of food because there is still so much excess food that is thrown away. We could also export the excess food to poverty stricken countries to help alleviate global hunger. Or, we could donate them to international charitable non-government organizations such as red cross and red crescent.
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It may be argued that it is okay to throw away excess foods because they are biodegradable and help enrich the soil. This argument is shameful because it is embarrassing to throw food when half of the world’s population is hungry. And contrary to popular belief that throwing excessive foods is harmless and beneficial to the soil, such is no longer the case. Because there is so much food thrown in our landfill, they already produce methane gas which is more lethal than CO2 that if food waste were a country, they would have been “the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the U.S.” (Chavich, 2015). Worst, these food waste used 80 per cent of the total fresh water in the U.S. which makes it a double waste when we throw our food.
Instead of dumping “unsaleable” foods that did not create the cosmetic standards of retailer, they should be sold at a discount so they can still be eaten. This solution will minimize waste and help the low income families in the community stretch their budget as their food cost will be reduced. Or, the food producer can donate their excess production to local charities. These local charities are many and diverse which could include orphanage, homeless centers, rehabilitation centers and other similar institutions. These excess food will surely be appreciated and could even enhance the image of the company in the local community. Better yet, producers could subsidize the food supply of a charitable institution of their choice where they would no longer worry where to put their excess. This is a win-win solution as everybody benefits from proper allocation of excessive food production. This solution is already used but needs to be expanded to further minimize food waste.
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Discarded food can also be donated or sold at huge discount to poverty stricken countries. Regulators can determine if such produce are still good for consumption to ensure that those foods that will be exported are edible. This solution can provide food to countries which has shortage of food. Exporting excessive food production can help alleviate the world and could even help solve other social issues such as crime. This is a win-win solution because food producers can still monetize their excess by exporting them (albeit at discounted prices) or look good if they will give it to hunger stricken countries which would help improve their image and brand. Either way, it is beneficial to all parties.
Excessive food could also be donated be donated to non-governmental help agencies. The excessive food will then be exported as a food relief to parts of the world where food is in shortage. It works like the former argument that it will be donated to poor countries except that in this situation, these excessive foods will be delivered to parts of the world where there are food emergencies. For example, parts of Syria where people could not go out and farm because of the civil war.
In conclusion, excessive food production should not be thrown away just because they did not meet the cosmetic standard of the grocery or department store. It would be a shame to throw them away when half of the world’s population is starving. There are many things that can be done to optimize food consumption. First, they can be sold at a discount in the local community or be donated to charitable institutions. Second they can be exported to poverty stricken countries at discount or donation to help alleviate hunger. This will benefit the producer by still monetizing its excess or could improve its brand and image. They can also be given to non-government organizations and provide food where it much needed.
- Chavich, C. (2015, May 05). How to solve the food waste problem.