The current use of natural resources, accelerated by anthropogenic pressures at many levels, threatens to exceed Earth's carrying capacity.  The way we produce, choose, consume, and waste food, poses a serious threat to our planet. As much as one-third of all food produced is either lost before it reaches a store or wasted before it reaches consumers' plates.


Food waste has deleterious effects on the environment, our society, and the economy. In the United States (US) alone, 40–50 percent (%) of all food is thrown away, with an estimated annual cost of about US $750 billion every year (FAO, 2019). Most of this waste is not recycled but instead ends up in landfills, taking up to 21% of America's landfill volume and contributing 9% to the total US greenhouse gas emissions. With agriculture utilizing 70% of the water throughout the world (FAO, 2017), food waste also represents a significant loss of freshwater resources.


In recent decades, the need to transition from a linear economy based on the “take-make-consume-dispose” model toward a circular economy has received increased attention worldwide. In the circular economy concept, the value of resources is maintained in the system as long as possible, and products are re-claimed to extract as much value as possible before safely returning them to the biosphere.






The development of new processes and technologies for nutrient reuse was identified as one of the main challenges in waste management within a circular economy.
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