Everybody is talking about Climate Change these days. It seems that the topic has reached a tipping point. Climate activists, such as Greta Thunberg and scientists who are at the forefront of the Climate Crisis awareness movement, are calling for radical change in our contemporary way of life, both on a personal and collective level. And this message is finally getting across.
The number 1 question many of us are asking ourselves on the verge of 2021 is, “Can I do something as a person, as a household, to positively impact the environmental situation?”
We are flooded with green living ideas and advice, but will acceptance add up to meaningful results? What if I switch to a bamboo toothbrush and buy pasta or durable metal straws? If I buy organic products only and reduce the amount of single-use plastic in my home, will that have a positive net outcome? These changes will have a positive impact, but the results may be too small and invisible to have a lasting and encouraging effect. However, there is one change we could all make that collectively would make a massive impact.
We believe the single biggest environmental change we all need to adopt in 2021 is food waste reduction in our homes. Why? Because, if food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, immediately after the US and China. And because shockingly 50% of all food waste, from farm to fork, occurs in our homes.
We are currently throwing away somewhere between 20% and 30% of the food we buy. That is like 1 in 3 apples goes to the bin uneaten.
When food is discarded to landfills, it doesn’t just go away, as we would comfortably like to think. Although food waste doesn’t remain undegradable for hundreds of years, it causes a different type of problem. When food decomposes it emits, methane, a gas that has an 80% bigger greenhouse effect than CO2. Therefore, even small amounts of discarded food have a significant impact on global warming.
The above statistics and facts taken together are proof that if we, as consumers, are able to collectively cut the food we throw away in our homes, we will positively impact the climate change crisis.
We don’t throw away food because we are bad people. We end up binning our food because we overestimate the amount of food we can eat within a given period before it goes bad. As Erica van Herpen, from Wageningen University, recently put it at the REFRESH conference in Barcelona, “people do not want to waste, it’s collateral damage. We need to change the social norm, from a fear of having too little to concern about having too much.”
And obviously, we are not mildly off – we are way off. We are buying and cooking 30% more food than we need. And, as Jose and Jill from Your RV lifestyle have rightly observed in their “Living a Zero Waste Lifestyle” Guide, “reducing waste does not begin with your rubbish – it begins with the things that you buy.”
Just by reducing the amount of food we buy, we will be decreasing the CO2 emissions we produce from binned food by up to 30% — an average household throughs away approximately 90 kgs. of food each year if we manage to cut our food waste down to 5kgs. Per annum, we would be producing just 9.5 CO2-e (kg) as a result of binning.
But it is not only CO2 emissions. Food waste has a significant impact on deforestation, soil depletion and degradation, biodiversity, and ecosystem destruction. In addition to the detrimental effect on the environment, food waste also has adverse ethical and economic consequences. That is why it is often referred to as the triple E.
As part of a global initiative for food waste reduction, the EU, FAO, and NRDC have all joined the pledge that prescribes reducing food waste by 50% by 2030. But that is 11 years from now! Do we have all that time?
We don’t. And we don’t need so much time. With affirmative action, individuals and households have been able to reduce their food waste by 50-70% within six months. It means that if we all join in the food waste reduction revolution, we might be able to see positive results within just a year from now! That turn food waste reduction into a beautiful New Year Resolution to make for 2002.
But how to get ourselves started? There are solutions out there, such as CozZo.app, whose purpose and mission is to help households significantly reduce their food waste at home by introducing people to a new way of collaboratively managing food in their home. The app is a seamless blend of numerous insights, tips, hacks, and tweaks, all combined through a thoughtful UX/UI design. It makes it easy for people to adopt and implement the various good practices in the different food management phases in their home, from purchase to storage, cooking, consumption, dealing with leftovers, etc.
And because the app is intuitive and straightforward to use and adapt, it gives fast and tangible results. It has a handy visible guide to the amount you are reducing. Your diminishing waste results keep you on-track and motivated.
Being mindful about our food is such a fundamental mind-shift, that it will soon spread to the rest of our non-sustainable behavior. It is a fast-lane on our way to waste-free living.
The developers of CozZo have forecasted that when they reach the threshold of 200,000 active household subscribers, this will result in a collective food waste saving of roughly 450K kg per year. The impact on greenhouse emissions will be huge. So, what is there to wait for!
The food waste reduction movement is something that everybody can join today. The more people join in, the more results will be achieved faster.