It’s important to remember that the earth’s resources are limited, and we should do all we can to preserve and appreciate these resources. Almost a third of the world’s produced food is wasted globally, which shows us that we’ve got a long way to go when it comes to our waste management. Food waste has a negative impact on the environment, food security, the economy and so much more. Like we always say, awareness is the first (and arguably most important) step towards change.
That being said, here are some facts about food waste that you might not have known before, which can hopefully help you join us in our goal to reduce food waste in Malaysia.
Malaysians’ Food Waste Can Fill 7 Olympic-Sized Swimming Pools Daily
When it comes to global food waste, Malaysians do more than our fair share of the overall damage. The amount of food waste we create has only increased over the past few years, despite having more resources to educate ourselves and make change. In June of 2022, The Star published an article that stated an alarming fact about Malaysians’ food waste - that it can fill up to 7 olympic-sized swimming pools on a daily basis. While there’s not much we can do as one person to reduce the global or national amount of food waste, we can definitely do more personally to reduce our own food waste and carbon footprint.
Malaysia is Running Out of Space for Landfills
The food waste discussion isn’t new despite being inarguably more common than it used to be. However, we’re running out of time to keep this discussion to just a repeated conversation. As we speak, Malaysia is actively running out of space for landfills. Given the almost 40,000 tonnes of overall waste (17,000 tonnes of which are food waste everyday), activists have been pushing for a zero-waste lifestyle among Malaysians. We’re creating food waste too rapidly to be able to get rid of them, not to mention the long-lasting impact of food waste that lingers far past our disposal of food.
Food Waste in Malaysia is Enough to Feed 3 Million People 3 Meals A Day
If you step out into any city or town in Malaysia, chances are that you’d come into contact with someone who is in need of food. The poverty rates in Malaysia are alarmingly high for a developed country, yet we are turning a blind eye to the massive impacts of our wastage of food. With the amount of food Malaysians waste every day, we’d be able to feed 3 million people 3 whole meals each day. These statistics are heartbreaking, as it highlights the stark reality of how harmful our choice to waste food is, and how big of a difference it would make if we repurposed our food to help others and reduce waste.
Keeping Some Fruits Away from Produce Can Slow Ripening
Oftentimes, our food waste is caused by several factors. One of them is spoiled or expired food, and quickly-rotting produce. Unbeknownst to many, fruits like apples, bananas and pears can fasten the ripening process of other produce which leads to them rotting quicker. This is due to their release of ethylene as they ripen, which can make their nearby produce to also do the same which leads to quicker ripening (and unfortunately, rotting).
Food Waste Causes Extremely Harmful Greenhouse Gasses
When we waste food, we not only waste the resources used in harvesting, growing, transporting and packing it, but we also contribute to them ending up in landfills and releasing greenhouse gasses. When our food waste ends up in landfills, they rot which produces methane - a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide. Methane is the main contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone, which is a hazardous air pollutant and greenhouse gas, exposure to which causes up to 1 million premature deaths every year.
Knowing what we know, it's vital that we begin our journey to reduce food waste as soon as possible. The effects of food waste run deep, and last for far longer than we can manage. Prevention is always better than our best attempts at a fix.
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