How food waste became a $1 trillion problem

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, supper, a quick snack before the gym or a tub of ice-cream on the couch. Food is part of your everyday. It’s a way of showing love, crossing cultures and punctuating life’s most important moments. Simply put, food is vital. That is why we believe good food should never go to waste.

Imagine walking to the grocery store for your weekly shop and buying three full bags of groceries. When you leave the shop, you put one bag straight into the bin. That bag corresponds to the edible food that is currently being thrown away, as globally ⅓ of all food produced in the world is wasted. Unnecessary, right?

In the UK, almost 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted every year.

One part of that is food that’s not edible, but can be repurposed. Like using coffee grounds as a body scrub or saving up your vegetable peels for stock. The rest is edible food that we could avoid throwing away. It's not just the leftover food at home. Waste occurs throughout the entire food chain, from farm to fridge to fork.
With a growing hunger problem (800 million people struggle for adequate food) - it’s heartbreaking to see any food wasted. The Food Sustainability Index (FSI) calculates an average score of a country’s progress towards a sustainable food and nutrition system. In the food loss and waste category, the score is based on indicators in policies regarding food loss and waste in society. The score is between 0-100, where the highest indicates the best performance. According to FSI, Sweden is at #14 with a score of 75 (2018), and the UK at #8 with a score of 78.9. France is on the top with 85.8. We’d love to see these scores improve.

Food waste has an unimaginable environmental impact because producing food has a huge carbon footprint.

Resources like energy and water to grow and manufacture food contributes to higher greenhouse (Co2) gases which affect global warming. Let's take a cupboard staple like white rice. Imagine that you eat rice 3-5 times per week. In one year it contributes to 69kg of Co2 emissions, the equivalent to driving a car 285 km. Comparably, just four slices of cheese contribute to 115 kg of Co2. We’re not only wasting edible food, but also the resources used to create them. Calculate your own diet’s carbon footprint with this BBC tool.

The UN’s sustainable development goal #12 is focused on responsible consumption and production. Reduction of food waste is one of the milestones. The goal is to halve food waste within the entire food chain by 2030. We’re working to help reach this goal. Each time you rescue an item on Karma we’re getting a little bit closer. 

Together, we can create first zero food waste generation.