International Day of Zero Waste
Today, the 30th March 2023 is International Day of Zero Waste.
Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, civil society, the private sector, academia, youth and other stakeholders are invited to engage in activities aimed at raising awareness of national, subnational, regional and local zero-waste initiatives and their contribution to achieving sustainable development.
In the absence of other articles creating awareness, I have put together this blog.
Some facts and figures – areas of concern:
Every year, around 931 million tons of food is lost or wasted and up to 14 million tons of plastic waste enters aquatic ecosystems.
Clothing Waste – Globally, $460 billion of value is lost each year by discarding clothes that could still be worn.
Municipal solid waste – generated globally could rise from around 2.24 billion tons to 3.88 billion tons by 2050. Lack of transparency in Recycling – plastic, glass , paper etc by municipalities
End of product waste – Cars, Solar Panels , Batteries Appliances
Mining Waste – there is increased awarenesses of this
Recycling of Building Materials – what is being done about this?
Household and building Energy waste – surely with smart devices we can save a ton of energy and money?
Water Waste – Well this is a whole subject by itself and an important one – from safe capturing, cleansing water from factories , households and keeping our water in rivers , lakes , seas clean and safe,
A closer look at Food Waste
While zero-emission Carbon Reduction is all the rage, there is one area where we can all play a part – that is in Food Waste.
Cost of food waste on the UK is GBP 10.2 Billion, in Israel, net US$ 4 Billion the USA a staggering $161 billion.
Food Waste is a major worldwide Problem, The EU subsidizes over Euro 40 billion to Farmers in the EU. There are huge Imbalances in this important human need. There is an inert need to oversupply because of risk of food shortages. Currently, Waste is in excess 2.5 billion tons with a high cost of $400 billion a year and In Europe 40- 60 % of all Fish caught is discarded .
Besides the Direct cost, there is also the Environmental Impact.
Today, there is Technology to help determine which crops are best to grow, conserve water, measure output, and more. Going forward, the adoption of Blockchain will help reduce this unnecessary waste and increase efficiency in both Farm Management and Food Distribution. Not only that, pests can cause a 50% loss / waste in Fruit Trees and crops. Large-scale harmful pestcides, chemical solutions are both unhealthy and inefficient.
So, what can you and me about this?
We need a shift in our consumption habits; we should support initiatives to change this never-ending cycle.
We need to demand better product labelling – ESG Product Info and rating on every product we consume – that includes Sustainable sourcing, Fair Labour, chemicals , health , end of product disposal.
We need to stop wasting, polluting, recycling, wearing our clothes longer, not changing our phones every few years. Repair instead buy.
Demand our Cities to be transparent in their recycling. Cities should work with Food producers , and Supermarkets to better handle excess, close-to-expiry date stock to provide this at discount prices to consumers, especially those living in lower economic situations/poverty.
I hope these few ideas that I raised has created some awareness and further thought.