One thing we humans are simply no good at is using resources effeciently. There's no escaping it: humans create a lot of waste. Most of us are inefficient consumers of energy, food and resources, and we are only slowly facing up to the consequences of this. With a growing global population and changes in climate that could bring drought, sea rises or floods to many, the urgency of these issues cannot be over-stated. Time is not on our side, and change is long overdue.
In relation to food waste, it's all too easy to try and pass the blame to supermarkets and "buy one get one free" deals. Each of us needs to face up to our own choices and behaviour: if you're buying two-for-one deals and throwing a lot of it in the bin, then the problem (and the solution) relates mainly to you, not the supermarket. At a time of rising food prices, and when people from many places in the world struggle to find enough to keep themselves alive, it really is obscene to be throwing huge amounts of good food (e.g in the UK over 5500 whole chickens per day) in the bin.
Be part of the solution, not part of the problem! Be aware of what you're doing, and try to improve your behaviour. If you're throwing items in the bin that have gone off, try to find ways to avoid this happening again. Aim to shop responsibly so that you don't buy things that you don't need (and won't use), and cook sensibly to make the best use of what you buy.
Food waste links
Tristram Stuart: Waste
Tristram Stuart's excellent waste website has lots of great information about food waste and the impact it has. It includes some striking photos of food waste to illustrate some of the problems we face as well as some imaginative ways in which food waste can be used for good.
Love Food Hate Waste
Visit the www.lovefoodhatewaste.com website for lots of useful tips on how to make the best use of the food you buy and to reduce waste.
Waste in the news
See below for some links to news stories regarding waste.
November 2009: £12 billion worth of food wasted each year by homes in the UK
The latest report by WRAP estimates that the total value of food wasted by households in the UK is £12 billion (this is the cost of food purchased but not eaten). This is higher than the £10 billion figure from their 2008 report, which was already a depressingly and scarily high figure. This latest report includes estimates for food and drink items poured down the drain, which is the main reason the estimated total cost has risen.
If you are shocked by this figure then make sure you're not part of the problem and that you're doing your best to use food responsibly.
May 2008: Food worth £10 billion thrown out each year by homes in the UK
A staggering 10 billion pounds worth of food is thrown out each year by homes in the UK. For the average household, that means that good food worth £420 is thrown out each year. For typical families with children this figure is higher at £610 of good food chucked in the bin.
Last updated April 2011
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