Food waste

Feeding landfills and starving sustainability: The environmental toll of food waste. 

UNDERSTANDING THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF FOOD WASTE  

The impact on our environment if food waste isn’t correctly managed cannot be underestimated. Did you know: 

FACT: Over 3.4 million acres of land, approximately one third of the world’s total agricultural land, is growing food that will be wasted!

Lets explore ways in which we can, together, lessen both the wastage of food, and, when food isn’t consumed, ways we can better manage the leftovers!

Resolving the profound impact that food waste causes on ecosystems, resources, and sustainability requires a thorough understanding of how food waste affects the environment.

Food waste is a major source of methane and other greenhouse gas emissions, which greatly increase the effects of climate change and global warming. 

Food waste impacts valuable resources like land, energy, and water. Add to this chemical pollution and habitat destruction, and this problem is much more dangerous to ecosystems and biodiversity than ever before.

Preventive measures, reduction of food waste, and sustainable waste management services are all necessary to kerb the impact of food waste.

To reduce the negative effects of food waste on the environment and promote a more sustainable food system, it is essential to provide education, invest in food recovery infrastructure, and carry out waste diversion techniques like composting. 

The Nationwide Team is made up of experts in the waste management field. We work with our clients to transform their businesses and lead the way in sustainable waste management. At the top of our priorities is the circular economy, and we are committed to environmental responsibility and educating our clients to create positive change.

Food waste is a major concern, and we can help our clients reduce their environmental footprint and provide transparency throughout the entire product life cycle process to reshape how they do business.

Building organic recycling

HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT? – THE ROOT CAUSE OF FOOD AND ORGANIC WASTE  

Understanding where food and organic waste originate is an important step in managing this type of waste. Unfortunately, food waste frequently ends up in general waste rather than being recovered as a resource rich in nutrients. Our food waste collection solutions and bins will allow you to:

  • Boost rates of sustainability
  • Divert more waste from landfills
  • By eliminating heavy, wet organic materials from general waste, we can reduce the cost to your business for disposing of this waste
  • Contribute to the creation of nutrient rich composts, fine soils, potting mixes, soil conditioners, and soil rehabilitation processes

We can assist any business of any size, regardless of the complexity or requirement of your waste management needs. The types of industries we service include (but are not limited to): 

  • Restaurants and Cafes: Uneaten and left over meals, coffee waste, and expired food can lead to significant amounts of food and organic waste. Grease trap services to manage fats, oils and grease (FOG) are also imperative for any business in the hospitality industry.  
  • Supermarkets and Food Retailers: Unsold fruit, vegetables, expired stock – all contribute to food waste and require dedicated waste management practices. 
  • Aged Care: This industry produces high amounts of uneaten meals, leftover food, expired products, and organic matter from green areas like gardens and lawns.  
  • Hospitals and Medical Centres: Similarly, uneaten and left over food, and expired medical nutrition products need specialised collection and management for the health of staff and patients. 
  • Food Wholesalers: Most supermarkets and restaurants have specific size, weight, and blemish requirements, often leaving wholesalers with the challenge of disposing of imperfect food products.  

Reducing wholesale food waste

Food waste arises from the discarding of edible food after it has gone bad, has passed its expiration date, or is just thrown away due to imperfections.

There are situations where overproduction is the cause of food waste. Overproduction is the rise in perishable food waste that results from restaurants, grocery stores, and other similar businesses ordering more food than they require. 

Additionally, food that doesn’t meet the retailers’ high criteria for quality and appearance is frequently rejected. The Food Waste Index Report 2021 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) states that 17% of the world’s food production is wasted, with 43% of this waste originating from homes, 26% from food services, and 13% from retail.

Worldwide management of food waste is imperative for a greener, healthier environment and to protect and nurture the resources we have. Talk to our team and find out how you can set your business up to be more proactive now and in the future in tackling food waste. 

THE IMPACT OF FOOD WASTE ON OUR ENVIRONMENT  

Food waste affects our environment in significant and varied ways. First of all, food wastes anaerobically in landfills, which increases greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane. Strong greenhouse gases like methane are around 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, over a 100-year period, at retaining heat in the atmosphere, which fuels climate change. Food waste also wastes valuable resources used in food production, processing, and transportation, like energy, water, and land. In turn, this resource waste increases issues like deforestation and water scarcity and increases environmental pressure. As land and water resources are needlessly used for food production that ends up as waste, food waste also causes habitat degradation and biodiversity loss. 

Food waste and the value of the potential global circular economy

Food waste disposal in landfills adds to soil pollution and leachate, which endangers ecosystems and public health. Leachate seeping into waterways and oceans is a serious issue requiring correct liquid waste management practices to avoid contamination.

Processed food contributes to waste by generating waste from metal and plastic packaging, byproducts of artificial additives, and processing energy. Reducing food waste’s harmful environmental effects and fostering a more resilient and sustainable food system is where our team of Nationwide experts can assist. We can create a tailored food waste management plan, from production and distribution to consumption and waste management. 

WHY WE NEED TO BUILD A CIRCULAR FOOD WASTE ECONOMY  

Developing a circular economy is extremely important for protecting the environment and reducing the effects of climate change. In order to create a circular economy where waste and pollution are prevented from the outset, resources and products are used for extended periods of time, and natural ecosystems are allowed to regenerate, we must change the way we think! 

One of the main causes of climate change is now food waste! Food production and consumption systems contribute 18-30% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe), making them the second largest sector contributing to climate change. Consider the statistics below:

There are 3 key ways we can work towards a circular economy:

 

  • Consume Less Natural Resources: Reuse and recycle to reduce the amount of natural resources consumed, such as water, fossil fuels, minerals and timber. This also extends to reducing consumption of fast fashion and single use plastics, promoting reuse, and implementing sustainable food waste management practices to mitigate environmental impact. We provide services for cardboard recycling and timber pallet recycling (Sydney), and are both ideal examples of reuse and recycling to create new products from old – reducing the consumption of virgin resources. Similarly, commercial and industrial waste management play an integral role in supporting a circular economy.


  • Consume Sustainably: Reducing consumption is just one aspect of a circular economy; another is improving consumption to be more sustainable. This includes selecting products that are recyclable or that have been made using environmentally friendly methods. It can also entail modifying our diets, such as switching to a plant-based diet, which has advantages over meat-heavy meals in terms of gas emissions and other natural resource utilisation. Better habits of consumption create enormous opportunities for businesses to adopt new waste management strategies, and we are proud to be an innovator and leader in this field for sustainability. 


  • Systemic Change: Transitioning to a circular economy won’t be easy, but having a world where economies, people, and the environment can all prosper is our goal. Governments, legislators, businesses, and communities must all work together to make positive change and be aware of the long term impacts on the environment. At Nationwide we are responsive, adaptable, and service-quality-focused, so we can eliminate complexity and find a simplified solution that works today, tomorrow and into the future.

There are several environmental, social, and financial benefits to a food-circular economy. By restoring soil health and using regenerative food waste management techniques, we can increase the sustainability of long-term food sources. By converting organic resources that were once thought to be waste into more valuable resources, innovative procedures and technologies are leveraged to create economic benefits for our clients and their businesses. 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: PARTNERING ON CIRCULAR FOOD WASTE SOLUTIONS 

Through collaboration, we assist our clients in adopting circular practices that prioritise recycling and waste minimisation. Through resource efficiency and environmental sustainability strategies, we promote innovation throughout the food supply chain. Nationwide are not just food waste management experts, we also cover a broad range of additional waste services, including document destruction, chemical waste management, the supply and collection of medical waste bins, bulk waste management, and more. Contact our team today, and let’s create a sustainable plan for your business now. 

 

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