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Impact and Benefits of Minimizing Food Waste

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 1417 words Published: 19th Oct 2021

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Food waste must be minimized to reduce the impact on the environmental state

Eating healthy is not just good for your body but it has less of an impact on the world’s environment. Food production is one of the largest drivers of global environmental degradation because it contributes to climate change, causes loss to biodiversity, consumes huge quantities of freshwater, interferes with the global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, causes land system changes and contributes greatly to chemical pollution through pesticides and fertilizers Hank, T. (2020).  Some alternatives to the fertilizers are bat Guano also known as bat faeces it has a Nitrogen-to-phosphorous-potassium (NPK) of 10-3-1 another alternative could be composted manure it is a complete fertilizer, but its NPK ratio depends on the animal

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Food production is one of the largest drivers of global and environmental degradation and climate change, through the loss of biodiversity, water usage, interfering with the global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles and the certified fertilisers and pesticides. Many greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapour and nitrous oxide. Those that are man-made include the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), as well as sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). A cow on overage releases between 70kg and 120kg of methane per year. Methane is similar to CO2 but the negative effect on the environment of methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. Therefore, the release of about 100kg methane per year for each cow is equivalent to about 2300kg of CO2 per year (Hank, 2020). These Animal-based foods in particular play a significant role in the loss of land, water wastage, and biodiversity declines. Of all the animal-based foods meat production has the biggest impact.

One-third of the worlds’ food production for human consumption is lost or wasted that is estimated to be 3.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide (co2) released into the atmosphere. This makes food waste of further concern. The third highest greenhouse gas emitter, after the United States and China. Food of further concern waste uses 30% of the available agricultural land, which equates to 1.4 billion hectares of cropland wasted. As finally the precious resource water, wasted food alone consumes about 250,000,000,000,000 cubic litres of freshwater annually. That more water than china uses for its agriculture every year. Analyzing the effects on biodiversity at a global level it is impossible to estimate. No matter the statistic it is clear from that the environmental impact of food loss and waste is enormous. Food waste does not only deprive hungry people of food it also contributes to landfill, greenhouse emissions, depletion of freshwater and destruction of forests for agriculture. If governments are serious about climate change, they must priorities the efficiency of food production to decrease waste.

Rank

Food (per kg)

CO2 kilos equivalent

Cars KM equivalent

1

Beef (beef herd)

60

193.1

2

Lamb and mutton

24

91.7

3

Cheese

21

67.5

4

Beef (dairy herd)

21

67.5

5

Chocolate

19

62.3

6

Coffee

17

59.5

7

Prawns (farmed)

12

45

8

Palm oil

8

28.9

9

Pig meat

7

25.7

10

Poultry meat

6

22.5

11

Olive oil

6

22.5

12

Fish (farmed)

5

19.3

13

Eggs

4.5

17.4

14

Rice

4

16

15

Fish (wild catch)

3

11.2

Scientists have now established that diets are a major link between human and environmental sustainability. Unsustainability and unhealthy diets have been named a lose-lose diet, due to their impact on both the population health and planetary health. These lose-lose diets have been described as highly processed, high in calories, high in added sugars and high in saturated fats as well as high in red meat. So, lose-lose diets create and maintain poor health as well as environmental degradation.

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Packaging may protect food quality and safety, but it also brings damage to the resources and the environment and even leads to serious ecological problems. Developed countries have been aware of the seriousness of the problem of packaging for environmental pollutions since 1960. The direct impacts of packaging on the environment include soil degradation, water pollution and the reduction of resources such as forests, solid waste pollution and toxic chemical pollution. It seriously affected the development of resources and the environment. With the consumer demand for microwave food, snack foods and frozen food and other convenience food Is increasing, the demand for packaging is huge.

Food waste carbon footprint is greenhouse gas emissions produced by transporting, storing and disposing of foods not eaten. In Australia, each household produces 18 tons of greenhouse gases.  Transport, housing and food have the three largest carbon footprints food produces 6 tons of emissions per household, or about 17% of the total.

The carbon footprint of a vegetarian diet is about half of a meat-eaters diet Most animals are raised in factory farms where they live in bad conditions. The factory workers also suffer from low wages and dangerous working practices. Factory farms are heavy polluters of the air and ground. The meat they produce is also polluted with superbugs. Over 2.2 million people get sick from eating polluted meat every year in Australia.

This research has shown that the diet that a human has today has a massive impact on the environment and food waste is one of the leading causes of climate change. Meat products especially release high amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. It is not only the foods that are harming the environment it is the fertilizers and packaging of the foods. Becoming a vegan or a vegetarian can help decrease the rate of climate change and help stop deforestation.

Bibliography

  • Hank, T. (2020). Greenhouse Gases | Monitoring References | National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). [online] Ncdc.noaa.gov. Available at: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/greenhouse-gases.php [Accessed 4 Mar. 2020].

 

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