Education Corner: The Climate Impact of the Food in the Back of Your Fridge

What may not come immediately to mind, however, is food waste’s impact on the climate. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 30 percent of food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming.  Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorcarbons (fluorinated gases used in refrigeration) are produced and emitted from food production to our refrigerators.  And don’t forget all the metal cans, plastic bags and cardboard boxes our food comes in. By throwing away half a lasagna, half of the emissions that resulted from producing and processing, packaging, shipping, storing, picking up and cooking are also wasted.  It turns out reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reverse global warming.

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