So, what’s in the news? Oh yeah, Tesco and it’s first ever published waste stats – 30,000 tonnes of waste in the last 6 months. Yep, you heard correctly just 6 months.
Friends of the Earth have stated that much food waste could feed 800 hundred people for life. It seems so fundamentally wrong to me that the developed world is struggling against a growing obesity problem (no pun intended) whilst millions in the developing world are dying of starvation. Isn’t there a better way?
With so many homeless shelters and food banks can’t they just give the food away? In used to work for a local Bakers on Saturday’s when I was at school, and at the end of the day we easily filled two skips with bread, cakes etc. I asked why the owners did not give it away to a homeless shelter and was told that the shelter could not accept it due to health and safety. But how much truth is there in that? I had a quick browse, and could not find much. Some organisations DO give their food waste away to the needy, one of the first was PRET A Manger, who provide meals to many UK charities each day (as long as they collect it).
In his book ‘Waste’ Tristram Stuart states that many supermarkets and large retailers believe that giving away food waste will undermine their profits and that customers like to see well stocked shelves. Which puts paid to my next question – why not manage stock better? Order less and make more accurate predications for stock ordering? Apparently it is a cardinal sin for a supermarket to run out of something.
Some are better than others, Waitrose for example use much of their food waste to produce energy by anaerobic digestion, they also give food away according to their website.
But it is easy to point the finger at the supermarkets. But much blame lies with the consumer, the BBC state that family waste about £700.00 worth of food each year each! Which sounds crazy to me considering how much people complain about the cost of food (a lot in my experience).
Many people seem to think that food waste is not a big issue, ‘it’s non-toxic and just rots away on landfills right?’ Wrong. Anyone who has a compost heap knows that it needs turning to properly decompose. Food waste in landfill produces harmful methane, a big contributor to global warming, so we all need to do out bit to stop food waste.
Top Tips for reducing food waste
1. Arrange your food in the fridge in date order, i.e. expiring soonest at the front so you eat this first
2. Show our freezer some love
3. Just because its not tip top does not mean its not fit for anything. I can’t tell you how much softening fruit I have made into delicious cakes, pudding, jams, jellies of smoothies!
4. Stop buying (often obscure) foods you don’t eat (we all do it).
5. Pets, I often give vegetables that are a bit past their best to my Rabbit or Guinea Pigs but make sure to check it’s ok for them to eat first.
6. if you have the space start a compost heap or failing that make sure you recycle food waste
7. Donate to one of the wonderful organisations working to recycle food waste to the needy such as Love Food Hate Waste, Fareshare, or Foodcycle.
Thanks for reading
Image source – Recycle now