The Fruits of Civilization (75-3) Food Waste

Food Waste

Waste: its prevalence throughout the entire food system and its extent are truly astonishing, its perpetuation is among the most offensive demonstrations of human irrationality. ~ Czech Canadian environmental scientist Vaclav Smil

Perhaps the single most important fact about food is how much of it is wasted. Food is typically treated as a disposable commodity: a tradition dating to antiquity.

Waste is a product of food surplus, and surplus has been the foundation for human success for over 10,000 years. Everything we call civilization depends upon it. ~ English environmental scientist Tristram Stuart

Half of the food produced in the US goes uneaten, at least 1/3rd globally. The higher a country’s standard of living, the more food it wastes. For instance, Britons threw away 720 million edible eggs in 2018.

In poor countries, food loss is primarily due to the lack of storage and transport; while in wealthy nations, food waste is a result of profligacy and inefficiencies toward the end of the food supply chain. ~ United Nations

The massive level of food waste equals the acreage of land under cultivation because of economic inefficiency in the market system.

By wasting food, we are funding the extension of agriculture into forests, wetlands, and natural grasslands. ~ Tristram Stuart

The human food chain illustrates the inanity of market-based economics.

In one day, a supermarket can easily throw out enough to feed over a hundred people. Supermarkets will deliberately overstock because they believe that shoppers like to see full shelves, which give the illusion of infinite abundance. ~ Tristram Stuart

With a more rational socioeconomic organization, the tremendous pressure on the world’s ecosystems that exists today might not have arisen, and people would lead happier, more fulfilling lives.

Let nothing be wasted. ~ John 6:12, The Bible, quoting Jesus Christ