In the current linear economy, resources are extracted, processed into products, and ultimately disposed of as waste. This economic model is deemed to be not sustainable because it can lead to significant food waste and environmental degradation over time. To address these issues, the concept of circular economy has gained attention, including in the food industry. By adopting circular economy, we are expected to be able to reduce waste, maximize resource efficiency, and promote sustainability throughout the food system.
In Indonesia, like in other countries, food waste poses a significant challenge to sustainability and resource efficiency. Indonesia faces a considerable food waste problem, with a significant amount of food being lost or wasted at various stages of the supply chain. According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, approximately 300 kilograms of food per person per year is wasted, totaling up to 9.8 million tons annually (Jakarta Post, 2020). This waste not only has economic implications but also contributes to environmental degradation and exacerbates food insecurity. Since food waste and sustainability are interconnected, the future of food sustainability relies on the circular economy principles. This approach involves plans to minimize waste and maximize resources efficiency that contributes to long-term sustainable food system by offering innovations to upcycle food products, improve supply chain efficiency, promote sustainable consumption, and more.
In order to reach a more sustainable food system, there are actions that need to be taken such as improving supply chain system, promoting sustainable consumption, and better food redistribution. To improve supply chain systems, enhancing storage, transportation, and distribution systems can help reduce post-harvest losses and ensure that food reaches consumers in a timely manner. Redistributing surplus food can also help to reduce food waste which can be processed by repurposing the food as animal feed production, organic fertilizer, or redistributing it to those in need by collaborating with non-profit organizations.
There are also several things we can take in a practical day-to-day life, such as:
- Make a shopping list
Planning our meals in advance and creating a shopping list can help us keep track of ingredients we need without overbuying products, which will reduce the potential of food waste.
- Proper storage and organization:
Store perishable items properly to extend their shelf life. Use airtight containers, store items in the fridge, and arrange the fridge in a way that enables easy visibility of food items to prevent them from being forgotten and wasted.
- Start with small portion
t’s good to serve and consume appropriate portion sizes to avoid excess food being thrown away. By starting with smaller portions, we can control how much we actually want to eat, and we can go for seconds if needed.
- Get creative with leftovers:
Instead of discarding leftovers, find creative ways to repurpose them into new meals. Leftover vegetables can be used in soups or stir-fries, and surplus rice can be transformed into fried rice.
- Compost food scraps:
If possible, set up a composting system for food scraps. Composting food scraps can reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for gardening.
- Raise awareness and educate others:
Share information about the importance of reducing food waste with friends, family, and colleagues. Let’s encourage others to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives as well.
Aside from adopting daily practices, the Indonesian government has also taken steps to address the issue. National Food Agency or Badan Pangan Nasional (BPN) has launched the initiative through Gerakan Indonesia Bebas Food Waste to reduce food waste and redistribute surplus food to those in need by collaborating with stakeholders, including retail, restaurants, and hotels, including non-governmental organizations. Additionally, a number of social enterprises and start-ups have emerged, initiating innovative models to tackle food waste in creative ways.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (n.d.). Food Loss and Food Waste. Retrieved from https://www.fao.org/policy-support/policy-themes/food-loss-food-waste/en/
- Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (n.d.). Cities and Circular Economy for Food. Retrieved from https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/topics/cities/overview
- Safe Food Advocacy Europe. (2018). Food Redistribution. Retrieved from https: https://www.safefoodadvocacy.eu/projects/food-waste-redistribution/
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). (2022). What You Need to Know About Combatting Food Loss and Waste. Retrieved from https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/what-you-need-know-about-combatting-food-loss-and-waste
- National Geographic. (2020). How the Circular Economy Could Save the World’s Future. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/how-a-circular-economy-could-save-the-world-feature
- Media Indonesia. (2022). Food Waste Indonesia Ke-3 Terbesar Dunia, Pangan Berkelanjutan Jadi Urgen. Retrieved from https://mediaindonesia.com/weekend/529246/food-waste-indonesia-ke-3-terbesar-dunia-pangan-berkelanjutan-jadi-urgen
- Jakarta Post. (2020). Tackling Food Loss, Waste Could Benefit Indonesia on Many Fronts: Experts. Retrieved from https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/09/29/tackling-food-loss-waste-could-benefit-indonesia-on-many-fronts-experts.html
- Grasp2030. (2022). Bappenas Study Report: Food Loss and Waste in Indonesia Supporting the Implementation of Circular Economy and Low Carbon Development. Retrieved from https://grasp2030.ibcsd.or.id/2022/07/07/bappenas-study-report-food-loss-and-waste-in-indonesia-supporting-the-implementation-of-circular-economy-and-low-carbon-development