Friday, 18 January 2013

# 10 (2013) Wasteful Britain

Last night ITV broadcast 'What a Waste' which focused on the food Britain throws away every year. It's actually embarrassing and, in our current economic climate, downright shameful just how much food we bin.

There are a whole series of reasons to blame for this situation but the main ones are undoubtedly over-sized portions, unnecessary expiry dates on packaging and buy one get one free offers in supermarkets which encourage us to buy more than we can possibly use at any one time.

I was brought up to clear my plate. And I always have. I have also learnt to cook less and if I cook too much to reuse left overs or freeze them for another time not stuff myself silly or throw them away. I also generally ignore expiry dates, never impulse buy food and always stick to my shopping list.

I cannot remember the last time I threw food away.

With food prices on the increase and poor weather making British grown crops far scarcer than they used to be, this kind of throw away attitude is not acceptable and completely unnecessary.

EVERY DAY British households throw out approximately:

5.1 million potatoes
7 million slices of bread
1.2 million sausages

Apparently all because of expiry dates on packaging. Two of these products are freezable so there is no excuse and why are we bulk buying potatoes only to send them straight to the bin?

Supermarkets throw out about 300,000 tons of waste a year again because of expiry dates and tight rules on shelf life and health and safety.

Restaurants are also guilty of excessive food waste and our eagerness to over order means we rarely clear our plates. Just today we saw four students leave a table with enough food left on their plates to feed two people. There's a homeless guy who sits under the archway down the road who would have been really grateful for that.

Meals abandoned today at the Shed in Lincoln. There's enough here for about 2 people
What is our obsession with eating to excess? Why are we scared of feeling hungry and why, when there is a glimmer of snow on the horizon, do we rush to the supermarket to overstock? No one is going to starve. Most of you could probably afford to skip a few meals. IT WILL NOT KILL YOU!

You don't have to look very far to see that the UK has an obesity problem and a terrifying addiction to food. And with prices going up and wages going down, we can all ill afford to waste money by buying products that go straight into the bin. Some families spend more on food every year than they earn. Why? We are a nation of gluttons and wasters.

Finally, the ridiculous rules of supermarkets on the shape of our vegetables when they hit the shelves means that a huge number of crops never make it from the farmers field. Would you buy a wonky carrot opposed to a straight one? It tastes the same, it's just a slightly different shape. Does that really bother you?

World gone mad. Something has to change. Change your eating habits, stop being so wasteful.

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