Waste Not, Want Not

Written by Thomas Orr, ESLLC 2016-2017

Have you ever visited a farm when you were a kid? Did you pass by herds of cows and wonder what would happen to them? Well, it seems that a lot of what is produced around the world is wasted. Either through over consumption or just poor planning. How would feel if you found out that even though there is widespread hunger across the world there is still large amounts of food that is thrown away? The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 795 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2014-2016.

A study from the University of Edinburgh suggests that the world consumes up to 10% more of the food that we need while around 9% produced is thrown away. Researchers looked at 10 key stages in the food system to identify the extent of losses through agriculture and livestock production. The study revealed that 2.1 billion tons or half of the crops produced are lost through inefficient production and over consumption. In livestock production the losses are significant, there are losses of 78% or 840 million tons due to the inefficient process. Around 1.08 billion tons of harvested crop material is used to produce 240 million tons of animal products. This is a large source of waste in the system.

With such high levels of food being wasted, there is work to be done to bring those numbers down. By improving the ways in which we distribute and consume food we can help those in need.


“2016 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics.” World Hunger. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2017.


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