Wanting to fight climate change? Reduce food waste.
Food waste has a significant carbon footprint because of the energy and resources that are used to grow, produce, transport, and dispose of food that is never eaten. According to estimates from the United Nations, if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (after China and the United States).
The carbon footprint of food waste is influenced by various factors, including the type of food, the amount wasted, and how it is disposed of. For example, meat and dairy products have a higher carbon footprint than fruits and vegetables because of the resources required to produce them.
When food waste is sent to landfills, it decomposes and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is approximately 25 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. When landfilled food waste will emit 627kg/tonne of CO2e.
On the other hand, when food waste is composted or used to produce biogas through anaerobic digestion, it can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing fossil fuels and save, vs. landfilling, 617kg/tonne CO2e emissions.
Overall, reducing food waste can help to reduce the carbon footprint of our food system and mitigate climate change.