OVERCONSUMPTION AND WASTE

Museu do Amanhã

In Brazil, every day 41,000 tons of food are thrown away, according to UN estimates. This would feed 25 million people. Paradoxically, the country still has 3.4 million undernourished people. New patterns of production and consumption, minimizing environmental impact and meeting the basic needs of the society, are essential to build more sustainable tomorrows.

CULTURE OF WASTE...
Brazil is one of the countries which waste most food in the world - perhaps a harmful habit of a tropical country where "whatever you plant yields". It is estimated that half of food are wasted during handling; 30% is lost during harvesting and transport, 10% in supply centers and 10% in supermarkets and consumers' homes. In the image above, boxed melons in Supply Center (CEASA) in Irajá, in Rio de Janeiro, before being distributed at trade shows.

Tomatoes, oranges and tangerines, rotten and in good condition, mixed in a dumpster in Ceasa in Irajá, Rio city. (photo: Gustavo Otero).

The planet produces enough food to feed 12 billion people, but almost 900 million people live in food insecurity (Photo: Gustavo Otero).

Reducing the waste by 30% means further decrease, by 30%, in the use of land, fertilizers, pesticides and seeds (Photo: Gustavo Otero).

An average Brazilian family spent R$ 478 monthly to buy food in 2013. If the 20% waste of food was eliminated, R$ 90 would no longer go down the drain (photo: Gustavo Otero).

Various nutrients are present in parts of food usually discarded, such as seeds and bark, bast, leaves and stems (Photo: Gustavo Otero).

In the case of vegetables, the rate of losses of these products is approximately 35% of the harvest (Photo: Gustavo Otero).

I CONSUME, THEREFORE I AM
What reasons lead people to consume excessively, above their daily needs? The issue is complex, but the global capitalist society encourages overconsumption. Humanity needs now 1.5 planet to maintain its general consumption pattern. A quarter of the world population living in developed countries demand no less than three quarters of the planet's natural resources. Will we be able to combine sustainable consumption with quality of life, satisfaction and respect for the planet? Above, traders and customers in one of the busiest streets of downtown Rio.

Movement in the Society of Friends of the Surroundings of Rua da Alfândega (SAARA), one of Rio's major trade areas (Photo: Gustavo Otero).

The number of Brazilians who were paying some kind of instalment in February this year reached 40%, which stands for an increase by four percentage points against the same month in 2015 (Photo: Gustavo Otero).

Each Brazilian spent, on average, R$ 810.84 on clothing in 2014, according to Ibope survey (photo: Gustavo Otero).

DISPOSABLE CARS
In 2015 alone, 2,569,014 zero kilometer vehicles were licensed in Brazil. Their number has more than doubled in ten years. Out of circulation, older vehicles end up in junkyards. Have you ever imagined that cars can become outmoded as quickly as old cell phones? This is already a reality and can very likely become the new standard in the automotive industry. Car manufacturers are reducing the launch range of new generations of car models.

Brazilian governments' encouragement to buy new cars favors the culture of disposal (Photo: Gustavo Otero).

Yet, there are changes on the horizon: new generations are less likely to buy cars or even get a driver's license (photo: Gustavo Otero).

MOUNTAINS OF GARBAGE
The generation of waste in Brazil has grown fivefold in relation to population growth from 2010 to 2014. With limited recycling actions carried out in municipalities, landfills receive many materials that could be reused. The Seropédica Waste Treatment Center in Rio receives 12,000 tons every day, from the capital and the cities of Seropédica and Itaguai. The results are huge mountains of waste - receiving environmentally appropriate treatment. Methane, highly polluting gas released by the decomposition of waste in the landfill, is drained to the "flares", a kind of chimneys where it is burned.

Leachate - liquid resulting from organic waste degradation process - is collected and treated in a sanitary landfill (photo: Gustavo Otero).

Aerial view of the Seropédica landfill in Rio, opened in 2011 (photo: Gustavo Otero).

The landfill has a usable life of over 20 years. After that, the municipalities will have to think of another disposal area (photo: Gustavo Otero).

Credits: Story

Museu do Amanhã, 2016
Curator: Luiz Alberto Oliveira
Content Director: Alfredo Tolmasquim
Exhibition manager and Tomorrow Observatory: Leonardo Menezes
Editor: Emanuel Alencar
Content Writer: Eduardo Carvalho
Trainee: Thais Cerqueira

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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