Can cattle begin to tackle the food waste problem?

Can cattle begin to tackle the food waste problem?

Can cattle begin to tackle the food waste problem?

30th March 2022

With as much as 40% of food produced worldwide ending up as waste, can we look to cows to provide a way to bring it back into the food chain?

Most food waste in the US is disposed of in landfill – about 33 million tons. As well as the wasted CO2 emissions incurred in its production, there are those caused by its disposal. Wasted food has a double-hit for the environment.

So how do we avoid sending it to landfill? There are a number of ways. It can be turned into biofuel or fertiliser, and perhaps most efficiently, animal feed.

Animal feed is arguably the most efficient way because it turns food waste into protein-rich food with very low infrastructure costs.

According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 30% of what’s fed to livestock worldwide is already either waste from food supply chains or by-products from growing and processing food.

The US already manages to send 10% of surplus food to feed animals and most of this comes from manufacturers or grocery stores.  But that still leaves 14.7 million tons of food waste that could be safely used for animal feed. And this is mostly sent to landfill which produces methane.

The WWF says all food-waste-to-feed ingredient production had positive impact on land use – using waste options could help to avoid additional land conversion for growing feed crops.

Recent estimates state the production, transportation and rotting of wasted food contributes up to 10% of global greenhouse gasses. All for no reason. The sooner this waste is cut or repurposed, the better for us AND the planet.