Every human being will most likely agree that no food should go to waste, yet in reality ⅓ of the food that is produced globally are wasted. Wasting that much food also means that 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases were released to the atmosphere, which will only worsened global warming. Moreover, in 2019, around 931 million tons of food waste was generated, and 61% of which came from households (United Nations Environment Program’s Waste Index Report 2021).
In the U.S. alone, 40% of the food that is raised or grown is not eaten, and a staggering amount of 36 million tons of food waste are produced annually. The thing about food waste is that all the resources that were used in order to serve the food to our table also goes to waste, and that is a big deal. In fact, 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food production and disposal.
What about Indonesia? According to the data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in 2020, Indonesia produces an estimated 67,8 million tons of waste per year, equal to around 185.753 tons of waste per day. Of that figure, food waste takes up the biggest portion of the waste composition by 30,8%. Moreover, according to a recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), each person in Indonesia produces around 300 kilograms of food waste annually, which made us the second biggest producer of food waste after Saudi Arabia.
Food Waste and Fasting
Furthermore, the holy month of Ramadan caused a rise in the number of food waste instead, which is pretty ironic because the whole point of fasting was to hold back humans’ worldly desire, including towards food. In 2016 for instance, the number of waste from DKI Jakarta that entered Bantar Gebang landfill is around 6.610 tons per day. The number rose to 7.073 tons of waste from the first until the 24th day of Ramadan, which shows an additional 463 tons of waste (Kompas.com). It almost seems like we were too focused on feasting instead of fasting.
Composting: Fighting Food Waste from the Comfort of One’s Home
Solving food waste might sound like a big deal and be a little overwhelming, but here’s the truth: every person can do their part in their own household, at their own house. With simple methods such as meal prep and finishing your food every time you eat, food waste can be avoided easily. Even if there are still leftovers at the end of the day, something can and still be done before it goes to waste, and this is where composting comes in.
In fact, May is a good month to start making your own compost because International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is commemorated in the first week of May every year. The theme for this year ICAW is “Grow, Eat, Compost, Repeat”, which is inspired by the organic recycling process from farm to table to farm again, because that’s what composting is all about: organic waste turned into compost, which then creates healthy soils and fertilizes fruits and vegetables. Then the scraps of those fruits and veggies go back to being composted and the process starts again (compostfoundation.org).
To start composting, you can first learn the basics such as segregating the organic waste into brown and green waste. Green waste consists of fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves and grass, as well as used coffee grounds and tea. Whereas brown waste is mainly egg shells, dried twigs, cardboard, newspapers, dried leaves and sawdust. As for the composter, you can use Waste4Change’s composting bag that comes with a complete guide on how to use it and even some free compost that you can use right away. What’s more, if you’re not sure whether you’re doing it the right way, you can always ask their customer service for a little assistance.