Ditching disposable: How a circular food system — where waste becomes new products — could boost food security and the economy

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Credit: AllOnline365
Credit: AllOnline365

Linear economies follow a “take-make-dispose” plan in which raw materials are collected, transformed into a product and used until discarded as waste. Unfortunately, value is created by producing and selling as many products as possible without long-term sustainability strategies.

On the other hand, circular economies represent a holistic approach to economic development that can benefit business, society and the environment. 

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According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about one-third of all food produced is lost or wasted globally. Not only is food wasted, but all the energy and inputs required to grow, package and transport the wasted food are also for naught. The report states that the total cost of food waste accounts for about $1 trillion annually. Reducing food waste and loss along the food supply chain could generate annual cost savings of $365 billion by 2030

To be a part of the food waste solution, impact businesses can consider investing in:

  • Infrastructure for food redistribution and collection.
  • Low-income countries and their physical infrastructures such as improved storage and processing facilities; and high-income countries and their redistribution of edible food surplus.
  • Digital infrastructure to support food networks.

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