Overhaul of Food Waste

by fhalbert on November 23, 2016 - 12:33pm

Environmental Impacts of Food Waste: Blog #2

   People are often taught “don’t let your eyes be bigger than you stomach,” in order to prevent wasting food. More often than not, the reason people do not want to waste food is because they feel that if they waste food products then they are essentially wasting money. But how many people are concerned about their food consumption form an environmental perspective? The environmental impacts caused by food waste are increasing rapidly and are becoming more and more of a concern in Canada.

   In October 2014, The Toronto Sun released an article titledFood waste is a growing environmental challenge in Ontario,” written by Antonella Artuso. The article talks about the increasing environmental impacts food waste is having on Ontario and how consumers (actor one) are the underlying problem. Artuso writes that she had a very eye opening interview with Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller (actor two, the state)  who describes to her why people should be more conscious about how much food they waste and how food waste is impacting the environment. The main issues Miller brought to light during the interview were:

1)      The amount of water wasted in order to produce excessive amounts of food.

2)      The amount of green house gases that are emitted in order to produce, package, transport and dispose of excessive amounts of food.

3)      The amount of food wasted during the production and harvesting process.

4)      The amount of time and money that is wasted on making food products.

   Miller’s underlying solution to the problem was that consumers should stop buying so many products and be more conscious of their choices. If consumers stop demanding larger quantities, the market would stop providing it.

  I was very shocked when I read this article because I had no idea that wasting food had so many negative repercussions. I am very conscious about not wasting food for many reasons but never really considered the environmental implications. Lack of knowledge is likely due to lack of education which may not solely be consumers’ fault. If the state or private investors began a sustainable food source campaign (similar to The Fish or the FSC organizations) that educated the public on how wasting food has a huge impact on their environment, maybe they would be more likely to make conservative choices. In this situation, knowledge is power and if the public does not have the knowledge on what the problem is, how are they supposed to gain the knowledge on how to fix it?

   My response to this is if I had known how big the problem was, I likely would have changed my ways long ago to try to try to offset it. This also relates to the overfishing cod case discussed in lecture. While tools for increasing efficiency of growing food, packaging food and producing food may have improved, the public is still demanding more and also wasting more which offsets the other improvements made in the system. This could definitely be a knowledge and managerialism issue that could be changed with appropriate guidance from a key player (either the state or a neoliberal organization). Consumers have the tools to fix this problem; they just need the knowledge on what the problem is before they can attempt to fix it.




Hi fhalbert,

Great post!

What initially drew me towards your blog post was your title. It's short, catchy, and introduces a topic that is up and coming in the environmental field. I think it was effective to choose a topic such as food waste, because like you mention throughout your post, many individuals solely focus on the economic losses attributed with food waste, and rarely the environmental issues which are just as important.

I also really liked the structure of your post. I think the NewsActivist platform is great for individuals who are wanting a quick, easy read on a number of issues, without the hassle of picking through scientific literature. You provide a quick, easy read for your audiences by explaining the main ideas of food waste in your introductory paragraphs, including the main issues associated with food waste in an easy to read list, and by including your insights and reflection on the topic in the concluding paragraphs.

I came away from this post understanding the environmental aspect of food waste, the main issues, your ideas about the issue, and possible solutions to eliminate the overhaul of food waste. This is significant, because I'm sure you had this goal for your readers in mind while writing.

Again, great job!

Hello fhalbert,

Having read about this issue prior to finding your article, I was happy to see that a post was written about this current issue of waste disposal. I really liked how you structured and worded your post, as well as how informative it is. The issues surrounding waste disposal need to be brought to everyones attention. Most consumers are at fault when it comes to buying excessive amounts of food, and either forgetting about them until they expire or cooking copious amounts that too are forgotten about. I didn't realize until reading your post all of the repercussions that result from waste disposal and cooking. Personally, I have been at fault for letting food expire and having to throw it out. I try not to let it happen and only buy what I know I will eat, but with a busy lifestyle it is hard at times. And I am not the only one, so many people have extremely busy days too. But if this issue of waste disposal was made aware through education and the media and maybe even a law that taxes an individual for the amount of waste they produce.

I came across an interesting article that I believe could be the change that Canada needs. The article states that "France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks." I absolutely love this idea; it is insane how we are all wasting food and yet people are starving. Having worked at a grocery store for a few years as well as a couple fast food chains, the amount of food waste was honestly disgusting. Every single night, the amount of food that just goes in the trash is saddening. If Canada can ban supermarkets from wasting just like France has, maybe this can be the first step for positive reinforcement.