Overhaul of Food Waste
by fhalbert on November 23, 2016 - 12:33pm
Environmental Impacts of Food Waste: Blog #2
People are often taught “don’t let your eyes be bigger than you stomach,” in order to prevent wasting food. More often than not, the reason people do not want to waste food is because they feel that if they waste food products then they are essentially wasting money. But how many people are concerned about their food consumption form an environmental perspective? The environmental impacts caused by food waste are increasing rapidly and are becoming more and more of a concern in Canada.
In October 2014, The Toronto Sun released an article titled “Food waste is a growing environmental challenge in Ontario,” written by Antonella Artuso. The article talks about the increasing environmental impacts food waste is having on Ontario and how consumers (actor one) are the underlying problem. Artuso writes that she had a very eye opening interview with Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller (actor two, the state) who describes to her why people should be more conscious about how much food they waste and how food waste is impacting the environment. The main issues Miller brought to light during the interview were:
1) The amount of water wasted in order to produce excessive amounts of food.
2) The amount of green house gases that are emitted in order to produce, package, transport and dispose of excessive amounts of food.
3) The amount of food wasted during the production and harvesting process.
4) The amount of time and money that is wasted on making food products.
Miller’s underlying solution to the problem was that consumers should stop buying so many products and be more conscious of their choices. If consumers stop demanding larger quantities, the market would stop providing it.
I was very shocked when I read this article because I had no idea that wasting food had so many negative repercussions. I am very conscious about not wasting food for many reasons but never really considered the environmental implications. Lack of knowledge is likely due to lack of education which may not solely be consumers’ fault. If the state or private investors began a sustainable food source campaign (similar to The Fish or the FSC organizations) that educated the public on how wasting food has a huge impact on their environment, maybe they would be more likely to make conservative choices. In this situation, knowledge is power and if the public does not have the knowledge on what the problem is, how are they supposed to gain the knowledge on how to fix it?
My response to this is if I had known how big the problem was, I likely would have changed my ways long ago to try to try to offset it. This also relates to the overfishing cod case discussed in lecture. While tools for increasing efficiency of growing food, packaging food and producing food may have improved, the public is still demanding more and also wasting more which offsets the other improvements made in the system. This could definitely be a knowledge and managerialism issue that could be changed with appropriate guidance from a key player (either the state or a neoliberal organization). Consumers have the tools to fix this problem; they just need the knowledge on what the problem is before they can attempt to fix it.