The decarbonization Its goal is action that eliminates the consumption of fossil fuels that have carbon in their molecular structure, and whose combustion releases energy, pollutants and greenhouse gases.
The most prevalent of the greenhouse gases caused by human activities is carbon dioxide (CO2)which causes warming near the Earth’s surface with consequences for climate on a global scale.
Fruit represents 22% of the total food waste in the EU. One of the most effective decarbonization strategies in the agricultural field is preventing losses in the field and after harvest.
Fruit losses in the first links of the supply chain represent an inefficient use of all resources used in its production. And large CO2 emissions that negatively affect the climate.
These losses can be avoided by innovative and sustainable alternatives, and therefore represent decarbonization strategies great potential that sometimes goes unnoticed.
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Food waste and CO2eq emissions
In the literature, the terms food loss and food waste are used together or separately. In general, food loss refers to the early stages food supply chainin production and processing.
While food waste is generally applied later in the food supply chain in retail and final consumption.
According to experts from Technological center AINIA, a recent study estimated around 638 thousand tons of food products for human consumption in the EU. Generating approximately 129 thousand tons (fresh weight) of food losses and waste, which represents 20% of the food produced.
To achieve these goals, the following measures are proposed:
- Ignite sustainable agricultural practices and promotion of local and seasonal agriculture
- Support innovation in technologies and practices food waste management
- Educate and sensitize consumers o impact of food waste around
Food losses and waste account for 6% of total global greenhouse gas emissions and are also a priority for the EU through the strategy From farm to fork or Farm to Table. One of the central axes of the Green Deal. In particular, it states that measures must be taken to halve food losses and waste by 2030.
The causes of fruit loss are very different and depend on many factors. These can be unfavorable weather conditions, pests, unharvested products that remain in the field because they do not meet consumer quality requirements.
With a market price that does not compensate for harvesting costs; mismatch between supply and demand, lack of infrastructure, inadequate handling and storage.
One of the most effective decarbonization strategies in agriculture is to prevent in-field and post-harvest losses.
Losses (waste) can represent about 15% of the harvested crop, and these losses can be used for different purposes such as animal feed, biogas, composting or landfills.
Finally, avoiding the uncontrolled decomposition of fruit in agricultural soils or its disposal in landfills is a strategy to combat food loss.
But it is also a very effective decarbonization strategy that can be implemented through innovative and sustainable alternatives such as automated field recovery, recycling food ingredients or obtaining bioproducts through a biorefinery model.
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