According to the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global food waste represents more greenhouse gas emissions than any country in the world except for China and the United States. In their report "Food wastage footprint," the U.N. states that more than 1.3 billion tonnes of food are thrown away each year, representing 3.3 billion tonnes in annual carbon dioxide emissions.

In their press release, the FAO states that:

" that is produced but not eaten each year guzzles up a volume of water equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River and is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere. Similarly, 1.4 billion hectares of land – 28 per cent of the world’s agricultural area – is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted."

The bulk of this waste comes from consumers who buy more food than they consume (mostly in developed economies) and from a lack of storage facilities (mostly in the developing world). High-income countries (excluding Latin America) are responsible for 67% of global meat waste.

So, what now?

The FAO has released a "tool-kit" of actions that can be taken throughout the food chain to reduce food waste. Included are examples of projects that have been taken on by national and local governments, farmers, businesses, and individual consumers to reduce food waste.

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  2. "Guest Post: Food for thought - the good, the bad, and the ugly" - October 3, 2011
  3. "10 Calories in, 1 Calorie out - the energy we spend on food" - August 11, 2011
  4. "Food waste in the land of "Man v Food"" - August 2, 2011

Photo Credit: David Wogan - used with permission