Food waste and what we can do about it


Not only are we here at ECO-ISTS extremely concerned about the cruelty to animals that comes with factory farming and the impact that factory farming has on the environment and on the access that people in developing countries have to healthy food, we are also very concerned about the waste problem.

Waste is filling the earth and the oceans and we need to be much more aware of the impact we are all causing on this earth, every day.

It's all tied in; we cannot just work on one front and hope to change everything for the better doing just by focusing on one of the many huge challenges we are facing. A holistic view is needed.

Our sister site which is as of yet only available in Spanish, tackles the problem of waste that is generated by non -biodegradable products such as plastic bags, styrofoam cups and plates and hamburger clamshells and so on. We offer an alternative to these products: plates, clamshells and cups and so on, all made from the waste by product of the sugar production. So, the products we sell at Ecopack Panama are really really biodegradable and could even be fed to animals- after having been broken up a bit. The soil will reduce our fully compostable stuff within 3 months back into CO2 and fibers.

But what about the biodegradable part of our personal home generated waste?

When we scrape off our dishes after a large meal, too full to finish the remaining scraps on our plate, we rarely pause and think about the significance of our action. It seems routine to us: if we have leftover food scraps that are unfit for eating, shouldn’t they be thrown in the garbage? Our routine practices, unfortunately, make it difficult for us to conceptualize the magnitude of global food waste. The problem is bigger than we think.

Lets look at some facts first:

According to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), about one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. When this figure is converted to calories, this means that about 1 in 4 calories intended for consumption is never actually eaten. In a world full of hunger, volatile food prices , and social unrest, these statistics are more than just shocking: they are environmentally, morally and economically outrageous.

Let’s start with some basic statistics about food waste in North America and around the world. Statistic info comes from the website of World Food Day USA website from their article written in October 2016.

Worldwide Food Waste Facts

Every year, consumers in industrialized countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (222 million vs. 230 million tons)
The amount of food lost and wasted every year is equal to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crops (2.3 billion tons in 2009/10)

More facts

North American Food Waste Facts

In the USA, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions

In the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month

Needless to say, the numbers are not promising. But don’t be disheartened! As consumers, we can do a lot to change the situation.

For people with a large yard; build a home composter, like we did in our large back yard. All our food scraps go in there, all our used coffee and tea grinds, and since we are vegans here, thats it. Mixed with some aired manure from a neighbours cows, we make the best organic fertiliser for our potted plants and kitchen herbs. If you are an organic gardener, use this compost for your produce!

Learn how to make a back yard composting unit here:

You can also buy plastic composters at your local hardware stores if you are living in Europe or the USA, which makes life even easier.

Think. Be a smart shopper and think about what you are buying and when it will be eaten. Wasting food is often a subconscious act – become aware of how much food you throw away. Plan meals and use shopping lists. Bring your leftovers home from restaurants in reusable containers.

Eat. Become a more mindful eater. Eyes bigger than your stomach? Request smaller portions and become a leftovers guru.

Save. Save your food, save your money and save the environment. Donate to food banks and become a conscious consumer.

If you want to read more about the Think.Eat.Save food waste campaign, follow this link and get involved!