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Food waste in Israel totals NIS 3.2 billion annually

CM 21/04/2021

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In honor of Earth Day, Leket Israel, an Israeli food rescue organization, released it’s fifth annual food waste and rescue report in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Ministry.According to the report, food waste in Israel is estimated to total at around NIS 3.2 billion a year and accounts for 35% of the volume of municipal waste.Some NIS 1.4 billion stems from the unnecessary waste of land and water resources, NIS 1 billion is the result of green houses gases and pollution and around NIS 0.8 billion directly comes from waste collection and processing.While green house gases cause food waste, food waste also causes green house gases, and it is estimated that 6% of all green house gases in Israel stem directly from food waste. The report states those numbers are comparable to GHG emissions from 1.6 million cars per year.”To illustrate the point, along with the enormous amounts of food that are wasted each year, the following resources are also unnecessarily consumed: 1,260 million kWh of electricity, equivalent to the total amount of electricity needed to produce all computers, electronic, and electrical equipment in Israel each year; 70,000 tons of fuel that could fuel 160,000 cars in Israel annually; 180 million cubic meters (180 billion liters) of fresh water, which would fill 56,000 Olympic-size pools or would be the equivalent of every citizen in Israel taking one shower daily for a year; 1 million dunams (~247 acres) of agricultural land, equivalent to 20x the size of Tel Aviv,” Leket Israel said in a statement.Leket Israel notes that over half of these losses could be saved if properly disposed of, or used.The report adds that around 25% of Israelis state that their fruit and vegetable expenditures have increased by at least NIS 100 a week since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Some 4% stated that they earned below average salaries, and still throw away more than 30% of the food they purchase on a weekly basis.

To close the gap, Leket Israel states that Israelis need to save around 20% of the food that is wasted, estimated to total NIS 3.2 billion.Food rescue efforts, which would combat this issue, would only cost NIS 880 million to fund year-round. It would also save 80 million cubic meters of water, 250 million kWh of electricity and thousands of tons of fuel, Leket Israel said. Some NIS 220 million would also be saved on green house gases.“It is especially important during this time period, when tens of thousands of people have become food insecure that we start utilizing best practices for surplus food in our homes,” Leket Israel’s Founder and Chairman Joseph Gitler. “Ensuring that this food does not go to waste will also help protect the environment, save hundreds of shekels and not allow quality food go to waste.”

Zachary Keyser contributed to this report.
Source: Jerusalem Post

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