Environment

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Food Waste Persists Despite Global Shortage

May 09, 2008 07:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Sarah Amandolare
Spiking food prices and worldwide shortages have not halted waste in Britain, where 3.6 tons of edibles are needlessly trashed yearly, emitting harmful gases.

30-Second Summary

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The BBC reports that the tons of food that are discarded in England and Wales every year consist mostly of salad, fruit and bread. And according to a study by The Waste & Resources Action Programme, 60 percent of the trashed food items were untouched.

Instead of being donated or used productively, most of the food ends up in landfills, where it biodegrades and releases biogas, which is made up of 60 percent methane and 40 percent Carbon Dioxide.

Methane is 20 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide, according to CNN, making biogas doubly harmful to the earth’s atmosphere.

Ironically, biogas can also be used for good. In Sweden, 7,000 cars, 779 buses, and one train are powered by biogas.

Britain’s startling food waste statistics come at a time of global food shortages and soaring food prices. "What shocked me the most was the cost of our food waste at a time of rising food bills, and generally a tighter pull on our purse strings," said Liz Goodwin of WRAP.

The price of food in Britain is higher than it has been in 18 months, according to the Daily Mail, but retailers have been protecting consumers by absorbing much of the increased costs.

Others are not as lucky. Leaders in Africa and India struggling to feed their populations have called on the West to stop diverting so many crops to biofuels, which many feel contributes to the food crisis.

Headline Links: The implications of wasted food

Background: Short on food, high on price

Reference: Changing consumer habits

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