The truth about our food waste problem | WWF South Africa

The truth about our food waste problem



Posted on 02 August 2017
Solid waste
© Kjell-Arne Larsson/WWF
WWF has just published a brilliant new report that showcases the level of food waste globally – including, importantly, South Africa.

The Food Loss and Waste: Facts and Futures report maps out the hazards of wasted healthy, nutritious food in a country so starved and dry.

The report at a glance:
  • In South Africa, a third of all food is never consumed and ends up at rubbish dumps.
  • This waste is in stark contrast to the millions of South Africans that are going hungry.
  • Water and energy costs means food wastage comes at a very high price to the economy and environment.
  • Many actions needed to reduce food waste are already well formulated. The challenge is embedding this knowledge within government, businesses and households.
  • Government has made a global commitment to halve food waste by 2030.
  • Reducing food waste could be a fundamental strategy to improving food security. 
Why food waste is a problem
In South Africa, 10 million tonnes of food go to waste every year. That’s a third the 31 million tonnes produced annually in South Africa. 

Of this, fruits, vegetables and cereals account for 70% of the wastage and loss primarily throughout the food supply chain – from farm to fork.
 
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has valued this loss at R61.5 billion.
 
The energy wasted every year in South Africa for producing food that is not eaten is estimated as enough to power the City of Johannesburg for roughly 16 weeks.
 
The wasted embedded water would fill over 600 000 Olympic swimming pools – a massive waste for SA, the 30th driest country on the planet.
 
About 90% of waste in SA is disposed of to landfills, where the food-waste component leads to the production of methane gas and carbon dioxide.
 
Successfully cutting food loss and waste is a chance to turn around severe food insecurity felt by significant portions of the population.
Solid waste
© Kjell-Arne Larsson/WWF Enlarge