When you throw some leftovers from your fridge, some people in the poor areas may go to bed hungry. In fact, food waste is a global problem.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that one-third of food produced for human consumption worldwide annually is lost or wasted along the chain that stretches from farms to processing plants, marketplaces, retailers, and all the way to our kitchens.
That is 1.3 billion tons of food — worth over $750 billion — going to waste each year in a world where an estimated 800 million people go to bed hungry each night, according to the FAO.
The good thing is that countries are trying different ways to deal with the food waste problem.
Last year, the UK’s first food waste supermarket “the warehouse” has opened in Pudsey, near Leeds. The food is priced on a “pay as you feel” basis and has already helped desperate families struggling to feed their children.
“The warehouse has absolutely been our lifeline over the past month or so,” Kirsty Rhodes told The Independent.
Kirsty was recently diagnosed with a chronic pain condition, leaving her husband with no choice but to leave work to take over most of the care of the couple’s three children. Overnight the couple’s household income was reduced to almost nothing.
“With three young children and two adults to feed we started to struggle straight away. Luckily we took the plunge to go to the warehouse and it was amazing!” Kirsty said.
Spain also had an interesting idea to help control food waste. In a small city in Spain, there was a white fridge sitting on a pavement. Residents and restaurants can drop off leftover or unused food otherwise destined for the bin. Anything left in the fridge can be picked up by anyone who wants it.
The fridge has also allowed local restaurants to alleviate guilt over their food wastage. “Before we used to throw away a lot of food – and it was food that was fine to eat,” said Álvaro Llonin of Topa restaurant to the Guardian. “You know someone is enjoying it,” he said. “It’s like giving our food a second chance to end up in someone’s stomach.”