The impact of food wastage is not just financial. But, it also has a negative impact on our environment. Environmentally, food wastage leads to wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides; and energy wastage in the form of more fuel used for transportation. A new study has suggested that wasting food that contains meat has a greater impact on the environment than vegetarian food. The researchers said, "This is because significantly more energy is used in the production of meat compared to the production of vegetables, though on average less meat is wasted compared to fruits and vegetables."
Study co-author Christine Costello from the University of Missouri said, "While many of us are concerned about food waste, we also need to consider the resources that are wasted when we throw away edible food. Farm equipment used to feed and maintain livestock and plant and harvest crops uses a lot of diesel fuel and other utilities from fossil fuels. When people waste meat, these fuels, as well as fertilizers, are also wasted."
For the study, pre and post-consumer food waste was collected from four all-you-care-to-eat dining facilities over three months in 2014. The research team created a detailed inventory of the specific types of food waste- meat, vegetables or starch. Co-author Ronald G. McGarvey said, "Based on the results, we recommend consumers pay special attention to avoiding waste when purchasing and preparing meat. If consumers choose to prepare extra food 'just in case', they should use plant-based foods."
Costello said, "Based on our study, we recommend that people and institutions be more conscious of not only the amount but the types of food being wasted."