Food Waste

Waste food feeds 5,000 for lunch at Trafalgar Square

My God! Are we in the West really able to be so choosy about our food that we can afford to throw almost one third of it away? How much expendable income do we have in these times that we can afford to put such a large percentage of it in the bin? That’s what it amounts to – throwing money away!

It is an obscenity that such a large part of the world goes hungry through no fault of their own while we can afford to quite happily send food to landfill. I can only presume that most people are happy to throw money away while complaining about low wages and rising prices, otherwise we wouldn’t have a situation arise where 5,000 people can be fed from food that would otherwise have ended up in landfill. And when was the last time you got indignant about the size of that landfill site on your doorstep?

Did you know that a misshapen carrot tastes exactly the same as its perfectly straight counterpart found on your supermarket shelf? Did you know that an apple with blemishes on its skin tastes just as good as its perfect same-sized counterpart? In fact, the misshapen carrot and the blemished apple probably taste better because they are more likely to be from a small local producer or a back garden and not mass produced to fit some exacting standards laid down by a large conglomerate who wish to present uniform characterless food.

Some years ago I used to deliver chickens to supermarkets and got talking to the drivers of the articulated lorries delivering fruit and vegetables to the big supermarkets. They used to dread the checks on their consignments when they arrived at the delivery doors in case some fault was found in one of the pallets because this would mean loading the entire consignment back on the lorry and rejecting it all. It would then all be returned to whence it came. This is obscene in itself, but it points to the root of the education we have been given as to what we expect our goods to look like. When was the last time you chopped up a carrot that was twisted or appeared to have grown legs? When was the last time you shopped at a farm shop or high street grocer?

Food Waste Facts
Source: Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap) –  (the italics are my responses)

7.2 million tonnes of household food waste is thrown away annually in the UK
How big is your local landfill site and when was the last time you (or anyone else) complained about its size?

4.4 million tonnes of food binned annually could have been eaten
Try telling this to the starving people of the world.

The environmental impact of avoidable household food waste is around 17 million tonnes of CO2e – equivalent to the emissions of one in five cars on UK roads
That’s over 6,000,000 cars! In 2010 there were almost 32,000,000 cars on British roads. And how many miles are driven each year to buy food that ends up in landfill?

The average family wastes £680 of food a year
I didn’t know so many people had so much expendable income. And we all seem to complain about low wages and rising prices. Why?

The total value of food wasted in the UK each year is £12bn
How many mouths would that feed in the world?

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