How Food Waste Affects Wildlife and Ecosystems

How Food Waste Affects Wildlife and Ecosystems

The words we often associate with “food waste” include landfills, trash and environment. Beyond that though, it also affects our wildlife and ecosystems. In our journey of recognizing the detrimental effects of food waste on our lives, it’s important to acknowledge that its dangers extend beyond ourselves. Keep reading to find out about 5 ecosystem issues that result from food waste.

Photo Credit: Ivan Bandura

Climate Change

Global warming is a rapidly-increasing problem that’s wiping out natural systems at an accelerated rate, making it a huge threat to our ecosystem. The food production industry is growing rapidly due to consumer demand; causing trees to be cut down in massive volumes. All while this happens, the amount of landfills we create is increasing at an alarming rate which causes methane to be emitted into the atmosphere - leading to global warming. 

Global warming also causes sea levels to rise, which further harms animals and us. 

Photo Credit: Sandy Millar

Wildlife Extinction

Food waste also attracts wildlife; leading them to be harmed when they consume decaying foods. As a result, the amount of wildlife as well as reproduction patterns and predator-prey relationships get affected badly. 

Oceanic Life

Over 7 billion tons of fishery are wasted and dumped into the ocean every year. Because of this, seagulls get attracted to the water in order to feed on these fish, risking local fish and other species. Their overwhelming numbers/presence can take the ecosystem out of its natural balance. 


 Food Chain Disruption

Given that different ecosystems are made up of their own unique food chain, increased food waste can also lead to putting the food chain out of balance. This is because food chain systems are delicate and sensitive; the smallest changes can have a ripple effect on entire ecosystems. The result of this would be reduced biodiversity.

Litter Problems

Besides litter drawing scavenging animals, the wildlife that prey on them follow, too. For example, brown bears have become a common sight in Europe as a result of this exact problem. This could not only pose a serious threat to other wildlife, but to us, too. 


 Though garbage or food waste control isn’t that new of a conversation, many people still haven’t received enough exposure to the harms of food waste. The effects of food waste have harmed so many people, animals and ecosystems across the world, and we’re running out of time to do something about it. 

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