Umm, no, I don’t think so really

The average British household throws away 4.2m tonnes of food a year, or six meals a week.

Jeebus, where are the subs on this one?

And can we guess whether Rebecca Burn-Callander did a STEM or an Arts degree?

27 comments on “Umm, no, I don’t think so really

  1. 4.2 million tonnes?

    Bread weighs 579 milligrams per cubic centimetre. More or less. Which is to say 579 kilograms per cubic metre.

    Let’s say 600 as most food is a little denser than bread. And it gets wet. So 4.2 million tonnes of bread would fill about 7 million cubic metres.

    Wales is about 21,000 square kilometres. So that it a little disappointing. As an average household, more or less, I only cover Wales every year in about 0.3 millimetres of stale bread and banana skins.

    I promise to try harder next year.

  2. Ignore the magnitude error & look at the figure. 4.2 tonnes p/a. It makes every one of those discarded meals weigh in at 13kg. Now that may be in Flabbot territory. But…
    Let’s presume what was actually meant was that UK households throw away 4.2m tonnes of food a year in total. It’s about 4kgs a week, per household. So what?. Wouldn’t even feed a small dog.

  3. Looking at her byline photo, perhaps she ought to finish her GCSEs before trying to do proper journalism.

    Or maybe I’m just getting old.

  4. Tim Newman – dammit, I was going to ask if it was Eamonn Holmes’ household.

    But what JuliaM said.

    Instead of annoying slim, devilishly handsome people such as ourselves Bono and Bob Geldof should be camped outside Diane Abbott’s house ready to intercept her Dominos Pizza deliveries and redirect them to Africa.

  5. Vir Cantium – it’s not you, she looks like she’s on a YTS.

    In fact I think she’s the girl who sings songs like “I knew you were trouble when you walked in” and “We are never ever ever getting back together”.

    My niece likes her.

  6. Yes the maths is bizarre but when people talk about food waste you often find they are talking not just about edible food but also about stuff such as chicken bones, orange peel, banana skins etc.

  7. Colour me stunned!
    “Rebecca Burn-Callander is the Enterprise Editor. She writes about entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs and fast-growth businesses. Former web editor of Management Today Magazine, she is one of Gorkana’s top 100 UK journalists to follow on Twitter. ”
    Now that rates a Jeebus.

  8. “Yes the maths is bizarre but when people talk about food waste you often find they are talking not just about edible food but also about stuff such as chicken bones, orange peel, banana skins etc.”

    That was excluded in this case. It’s from the WRAP 2012 report. It’s supposedly about 3 kg per household of 2.4 people per week, and apparently consists mainly of milk, fruit juice, bread, and fresh salad and veg that has gone off.

    I personally feel the numbers are a bit high, based on a very small sample, but I don’t have enough data to prove it. But whatever – it’s not what it purports to be.

  9. Peoe pay £10 a month for this service. They can’t afford to waste food but money is no object, it seems.

    As for the journalist, if you cannot get such a simple thing right how can we take you seriously on anything else?

  10. Could the silly sod mean “metric” tonnes–not that I know or care about metric anything?.

    I’m starting to sound like PaulB God help me.

  11. Maths yadda yadda yep get all that, but the real point is, what the fuck business is it of this idiot’s or anyone else’s what I do with the food I buy with my money?

    Somehow, if the government takes my money away and gives it to twats to buy heroin/cigs/lager with, that’s a good thing, but if I assist in the employ of people in growing, importing and selling food businesses by buying a bit more broccoli than I will actually eat… that is horrific?

    I seriously do not get it, can someone explain?

  12. I take this as another example of the universitisation of so much in the UK.
    I’ve a pal, now lives in the South of France, is of the ‘old school’ of journalism. Left school at 15 & went make tea at the local rag. Spent several years at papers in the Provinces then worked on the nationals before freelancing. UK, the States & elsewhere, including the odd war or three. Always reminding me of the vital W’s in any story. Who, what, where, when & ask yourself why. And the three C’s Check, check & check again..This is the sort of copy he would have cut his teeth on for £5 a week but she’d have submitted it to him she’d received a whole new lexicon of four letter words in payment.
    Apparently, we now need degrees to cut & paste press handouts under a pretty job title..

  13. @ Interested
    There are lots of poor people in the world who are hungry, so we are commanded to have a guilt trip about how much food we collectively waste.
    I find the numbers staggering (my household throws away some food but it is much nearer six meals a year than six meals a week) so I looked at the WRAP paper which discusses the situation in 2012. The difficulty is with her *literacy*, *not* her numeracy: 4.2m tons is the total for households, not the average per household, the tense is wrong – threw away in 2012, not “throws”, and she claims that a recipe company will change that when the two largest components are out-of-date food and mothers cooking more than the family wants to eat (jointly more than two-thirds of the total). Not to mention that she is recycling a better-written 2013 article from her newspaper.
    Tim will rejoice to learn that the largest item wasted by cost (meat and fish) is the smallest item to be separated out by weight and majority by weight of waste is the very cheap items: potatoes, bread and milk, (followed by “five-a-day” fruit and veg which are a marketing campaign by California farmers disguised as a health campaign).

  14. @ bis
    While I agree: you omit “why” and “how”
    “I have six faithful serving men…”

  15. ONS says 26.4 million households in the UK @ 2.3 persons per household (2013). So 4.2 billion kg of food thrown out per year is about 6oz per person per day. This is not a figure to get exercised about.

    Instead if we take dear dim little Becca’s numbers the UK is throwing out 110 trillion tonnes of food a year, which you’d think people would notice.

    I should really start keeping a list of innumerate hack pieces in the UK meejah, but I fear I’d never find time to do anything else.

  16. Don’t know about you lot, but I throw away all my food after I’m done with it. Or flush, whatever.

  17. I can’t bring myself to look at the article or survey behind it. No need to commetn further on the dodgy maths, but food waste typically includes wet teabags (rather heavier than the dry ones), chicken bones (which many, admittedly no longer the plebs) make a soup or stock of, and the rest. I’d be surprised if my wastage of food mass bought with the intention of consumption reaches even 6 meals a year, which makes me the consumer by some distance the most efficient part of the logistics chain. I do throw away the solid bits of broccoli as I’d rather eat trees and am grateful to be fortunate enough that I need only eat the tender and tasty bits.

  18. @ BiG
    The research referenced in the article was rather better than the Grauniad norm and excluded chicken bones etc,

  19. 4.2 tons x 2000 lbs. per ton = 8,400 lbs. per year / 365 days = 23.01 lbs. per day. Say the average household has 4 members, then you’re talking 5.75 lbs. per person per day being thrown out.

    RIght… That sounds completely reasonable on its face, doesn’t it?

    Now, if a household is throwing away 23.01 lbs. per day, that’s 161.07 lbs. per week. That works out to 26.85 lbs. for each of the 6 meals, or 6.71 lbs. per person per meal.

    Right… that also sounds completely reasonable on its face, doesn’t it?

    You know, back in the day when I was blogging, I was actually offered a job as a journalist by some forlorn news organization that had seen my work on the Dubai Ports World dust-up. That offer remains one of the greatest of insults I’ve ever received. I’d just as soon be mistaken for a pimp as a journalist.

  20. @Joh77
    “While I agree: you omit “why” ”
    The why he always stresses is the “ask yourself why these facts are being presented to you in the way they are?”. What’s being omitted? Because that’s often where the story is.

  21. @john77
    The story here was “Telegraph journalist promotes company will charge you £10 to save you £3.” What was omitted was how much they paid her for the advert. #
    So the follow up would be “Telegraph journalist prostitutes herself for free” because she’s doubtlessly too dim to have got cash up front, like sensible working girls.

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