Why You Should Love Your Leftovers a Little More
When I was little, I remember often being yelled at for 'wasting food'. I was told to think of the millions of people who were dying of hunger. I was told that I myself would not always have the luxury of a proper meal. But it didn't stop me from habitually leaving out that last bit of my lunch for the bin.
It was only when I started pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies that I was finally convinced I shouldn't be wasting food. Most of you, I suppose, aren't too different. So let me give you 3 reasons why you should love your leftovers a little more:
1) Wasting food is a lost chance to feed people
You already know this one. For the record, about 820 million people go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Someone somewhere would be glad to have the leftover curry you washed in the sink or the packets of ketchup you tossed in the bin.
2) Food waste in landfills produces methane gas
Most food that is thrown away would end up in a landfill. Food collected in landfill sites produces methane gas, a gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. Emissions from food waste account for 8 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Interesting fact: If food waste were a country, it would be the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States.
3) Wasting food is wastage of other resources
Food waste is not just a waste of food but a waste of the water, fuel, land, labour and chemicals used to produce it. Our increased dependence on these resources have themselves led to problems such as water scarcity, pollution and deforestation. Therefore, by wasting food, we'd be adding to these problems.
Interesting fact: Water used to produce globally uneaten food equals the amount of water that annually flows through the longest river in Europe, Volga
Now, the next time you're tempted to toss away your leftovers, I hope you know a little bit better!
Do you also have times when you don't quite understand why food waste is so horrible?
What kind of challenges do you have in trying to minimize food waste?
Let me know in the comments!
Savandhi is an Environmental Studies Student at York University. She is currently back at home in Sri Lanka, taking her fall semester online while volunteering at IUCN. When she's not studying, she likes to write and spend time with her cat, Bella.