In North America, as much as 30 per cent of food is wasted. Not only do households cook too much and leave food to go bad in the fridge, our global food system lets fruit vegetables and meat go to waste on trucks, ships and planes as it is transported from continent to continent. More and more, we eat in restaurants that leave enormous scraps of edibles to go bad.
All this waste translates into vast sums of wasted energy. A new study reveals that the food industry in the US consumes over 15 per cent of energy, for growing, fertilizing transporting and distributing food. So much waste translates into as much as 8 thousand trillion BTU of wasted energy. This is enough to supply all the energy needs of the US for a week.
Unfortunately, here in Manitoba, our figures are not too different. What is more, much of that food is not even composted. This multiplies the greenhouse gas problems of wasted energy by turning food waste into methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful that carbon dioxide.
Next time your mother warns you to finish what’s on your plate, don’t think just of the empty bellies it could feed, but also remember that wasted food is wasted energy.