Globally, food waste has become an increasingly recognized environmental issue over the last decade. In a world where approximately 800 million people suffer from hunger, food waste is not only an ethical issue but also an environmental problem that cannot be overlooked.
In a recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (Food Index Report 2021), an estimated 8-10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed. By throwing 17 percent of the food available at retail, foodservice and consumer level, the effects of food systems on climate, nature and pollution are grossly generated.
The report states that although the scale of food waste has not been understood, governments and private sectors need to encourage the widespread adoption of a Target-Measure-Act approach to food waste reduction.
During the recently concluded fifth United Nations Environment Assembly meeting, member states were requested to establish mechanisms for measuring food loss and wastes, and technical assistance to be provided to countries to allow them to take measures and progress.
It was discovered that if countries want to get serious about tackling food waste, they need to increase efforts to measure food and inedible parts wasted at retail and consumer level and track food waste generation in kilograms per capita at the country level.
The food hierarchy also suggests that the next best option for food waste, if it cannot be prevented and is not suitable for human consumption, is to use it as animal feed.
In Kenya for instance, a startup called Sagel Oik Ventures is doing value addition to waste by using Black Soldier Flies (BSF).
Here’s how it works: The BSF eggs are placed in tent-like structures along with organic wastes (mostly potato wastes) where they incubate for three days and then hatch.
They grow over about 14 days, and then 10-20 percent are harvested into feed.
Through a similar process, the startup also produces organic frass fertilizer which can be sold as an additional value-added product or used in farmlands for increased crop productivity.
Taking something that is considered to be waste, and turning it into a higher value product greatly contributes to global sustainability and climate-smart agriculture.
The Global Food Waste Management Report urges all governments, businesses, innovators and creatives to innovate new ways and regulate options to encourage food waste prevention and avoid its harmful effects on the environment.
Kenya Climate Innovation Center in partnership with What Design Can Do, recently launched a call for applications for innovators with creative ideas on how to reduce wastes, to submit their projects for a chance to win $1000, and qualify for the development programme that will help them strengthen and scale up their projects.
If you believe you have innovative ideas on how to reduce wastes and to rethink our entire production and consumption cycle, you can submit your project to https://www.kenyacic.org/