Thursday, 7 June 2012

What a waste

There is nothing more disheartening than finding a bag of slimy salad at the back of the fridge, or half a pot of humus with a furry green layer. I try damn hard for this never to happen and depending on the sliminess of the salad, there is always soup? Take that bag of salad. It has been grown in poly tunnels in Spain, tended and picked by underpaid workers, sprayed within an inch of its life, washed in chlorine or spring water if you buy the organic kind, bagged up in plastic, shipped or air freighted to the UK, delivered to the supermarket where you buy it, take it home, forget about it and bin it when its slimy. Disgusting isn't it?

I hate food waste and was brought up to eat everything on my plate. They say that if you have a compulsion to eat all that is on your plate then you will end up obese or a compulsive eater - utter tosh - put less on your plate or leave what you can't eat and eat it for lunch the next day. Really what are we coming to? When I have other children come for tea the waste pains me, I'm not quite as upset as my mother-in -law would be and happily finish off a toddlers meal or fish waste out of the bin to eat later, I wish I was though - she has a point, we should NEVER waste food.

There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world, but the approximately 40 million tonnes of food wasted by US households, retailers and food services each year would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them.

UK Households waste 25% of all the food they buy.

All the world's nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe.

An estimated 20 to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets' excessively strict cosmetic standards.

The bread and other cereal products thrown away in UK households alone would have been enough to lift 30 million of the world's hungry people out of malnourishment

4600 kilocalories per day of food are harvested for every person on the planet; of these, only around 2000 on average are eaten – more than half of it is lost on the way.

24 to 35% of school lunches end up in the bin.

All Food Waste Facts are from Tristram Stuart's Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (Penguin, 2009) For full facts look here.

There are plenty of websites out there listing ways that we can reduce our food waste, I would have thought it was quite simple - BUY LESS.

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