Earth Day 2021
Addressing local environmental problems first
On Thursday, 22 April 2021, the world celebrates Earth Day, dedicated to discussing climate change, environmental justice, reforestation, and climate policies.
As we get these very important conversations going, to deal with these pertinent environmental issues on a global level, it is also important to focus on the issues that are in front of us.
“Sustainability can be implemented on a smaller scale within communities by looking at food production and waste management systems,” says Brian Küsel from BiobiN South Africa. “The most unsustainable part of the food production supply chain is the wastage from transporting and storing food, and a lot of the time retail chains will send this food wastage to general waste that goes to landfill.
BiobiN South Africa talks about the importance of supporting sustainable food production and waste management system on a local scale and three important points for doing so:
Establishing a sustainable local food system. One of the biggest environmental pressures that we create is the amount we consume, not just food, but resources in general. If we purely focus on our food systems, we realise that we could be doing better. In South Africa, we waste a lot of food before it reaches the consumer, approximately a third of the food that is produced. Food waste from ‘farm to fork’ can be attributed to commercial food standards, transportation, and extended times in storage. By supporting local farmers and suppliers, we can cut out massive transport, packaging, and storage costs and essentially reduce the amount of food waste along these stages of the supply chain.
How good are you at waste management? Every single person has a waste footprint, which has an impact down the line on the environment. While we commonly know that recycling plastic, cans, and paper is the right thing to do, recycling your food waste is just as important, however, is not as often done. By composting food waste and supporting businesses that compost, we can prevent sending it to landfill where it would normally go. Food waste at landfill decomposes to produce potent greenhouse gases, like methane. So, when we have the conversation about global warming and climate change, the conversation needs to include how we can keep food waste out of landfill sites.
Supporting a local circular economy. It is great to support brands and businesses that base their model on sustainable practices such as ethically sourced resources, reduced plastic packaging, and recyclability. When choosing the businesses to support, be sure to include the businesses that compost. With the accessibility and mobility of larger-scale composting units, more businesses within the retail and hospitality sectors are composting their food waste. Some facilities, like larger hotels and restaurants, are not only composting their food waste but are also using the compost for food gardens within their local communities, therefore creating a circular system with food waste.
“For Earth Day this year, we at BiobiN would like to encourage you to find out what your local businesses are doing in terms of food waste management,” says Küsel. “The more pressure consumers put on restaurants and local retail the better decision they will make for the environment.”
To find out more about BiobiN South Africa, visit www.biobin.co.za