Bulgarians Waste 86 kg of Food Per Person Annually: Hidden Impact of Food Waste

Environment |Author: Diana Kavardzhikova | April 11, 2024, Thursday // 12:15|  views


In a world brimming with plenty, the silent epidemic of food waste continues to plague both our plates and our planet, with staggering implications for economies, ecosystems, and global equality. As Radina Kaldamukova expertly highlights in her analysis for "Klimateka," the scale of this crisis demands urgent attention and concerted action.

As per the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately one-third of all manufactured products and commodities are discarded. If this discarded food were considered a nation, it would rank as the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide, following closely behind the United States and China.

Within the European Union, the average amount of food wasted per individual in 2020 reached 127 kilograms, whereas in Bulgaria, it amounted to 86 kilograms per person. Nonetheless, in Bulgaria, the predominant portion of this waste occurs within the production sector, specifically agriculture, and throughout the supply chain.

The implications of this squander extend far beyond mere environmental degradation. In a world where millions endure hunger, billions of tons of perfectly edible sustenance are thrown away. The ripple effect is undeniable: as affluent nations discard surplus, they inadvertently hoard resources from the global market, driving prices beyond the reach of struggling populations.

The environmental toll of food waste is equally dangerous. When discarded matter decomposes in anaerobic conditions, it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that intensifies the specter of climate change. This vicious cycle perpetuates a cycle of degradation, as rising temperatures further strain agricultural systems and exacerbate food insecurity.

Not all foods are created equal in their environmental impact. While meat comprises less than 5% of global food waste, its carbon footprint looms disproportionately large, contributing over 20% of emissions. From methane released by ruminants to the environmental toll of feed production, a kilogram of meat leaves an indelible mark on our planet.

Bulgaria faces substantial losses from unsold grain, placing it among the top three countries experiencing major losses in agriculture and fisheries. These losses stem from the unstable economic conditions in our agricultural sector, where unsold or unused products result from either market limitations or insufficient infrastructure for storage and transport. In wealthier regions, food waste is driven by both industry and consumer practices, with strict aesthetic standards in the retail sector exacerbating the issue by promoting wastefulness, particularly concerning the appearance of fruits and vegetables.

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Tags: food, global, waste, crisis


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