A Third of Food Thrown Away!

Err, hellooo?

A staggering £8billion-worth of food is thrown away in Britain every year – a third of everything we buy, according to campaigners.

And most of the 6.7 million tons of food we discard from our homes each year – enough to fill Wembley Stadium eight times – could have been eaten, according the Government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap). And the startling figures refer only to waste from households – when waste from businesses is included the numbers will be considerably higher.

For every three bags of shopping brought home, one ends up in a landfill. Experts said too much food was being thrown away because consumers let it go off in the fridge or cupboard, or portions are too big and leftovers are simply binned.

Didn\’t we go through all of this a few weeks ago? Included in that "one third" is potato peelings, cabbage stalks and tea bags? So that this figure is, at the very best, extremely misleading?

As well as the cost, the wasted food is a major contributor to the production of greenhouse gases. Most of the food thrown away ends up in landfill, where it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

And that methane is, by law (2004 Landfill Act) collected and used to generate energy: it supplies 30% of Britain\’s renewable energy. Not to note that is extremely misleading….to the point of (almost) being a lie.

Wrap is something of a problem as an organisation anyway. They\’ve produced a report which is really rather good. They measured the emissions saved by the recycling that we already do. They were really rather open and honest about it all: recycling aluminium cans is a great idea, saves money and emissions. Turning green glass into roads increases emissions. However, far too many people use this report to argue that further recycling will save further emissions: this might be true, certainly, but it also might not be. The report certainly doesn\’t prove it. Whether reycling something is a good idea or not (on financial, or emissions grounds) depends upon what it is, what is the current disposal method and how you\’re actually going to recycle it. Unfortunately all too many are infected with the idea that if some recycling is a good idea (which it is) then all recycling must be, which simply isn\’t true.

Think of it this way: my ingestion of 2,000-3,000 caloriues a day keeps me fit and healthy (I do quite a bit of exercise so that higher number is OK). This does not mean that my ingestion of 4,000-6,000 calories a day would also keep me fit and healthy.

So with recycling: more is not necessarily better. And Wrap seem to have morphed from an organisation writing a decent report about which types are a good idea to one which says that all are.



4 thoughts on “A Third of Food Thrown Away!”

  1. “Didn’t we go through all of this a few weeks ago? Included in that “one third” is potato peelings, cabbage stalks and tea bags? So that this figure is, at the very best, extremely misleading?”

    Yes it is, but I’ve seen it crop up on the ‘Comment Is Free’ article about factory farmed chickens today, with no dissenters:


    Incidentally, the article itself is a total laugh riot, pitting the effete Guardian-reading free-range advocates (who think the poor should be happy with less meat/cheap meat and shut up) against the hippy vegans (who think no-one should eat meat even if chickens live a life of unparalleled luxury), occasionally enlivened by digs at the poor spending money on luxuries and not listening anyway when their betters tell them what they should eat.

    Dissenters to any of the above positions are rounded on ferociously by all comers – almost like chickens pecking a weaker bird to death…

    Reading it made me so hungry I went out and bought a KFC burger 😉

  2. “Included in that “one third” is potato peelings, cabbage stalks and tea bags? ”

    I recycle all our vegetable waste, by composting it for the garden. But isn’t that just a private landfill? And the more fresh food I use, the greater the waste going into the composter. Whereas if we survived on tinned veg, the tins would get recycled. So lets all stop growing our own veg, and stop composting waste peelings. Let’s all switch over to fast processed food, and be left with nothing but recyclable paper, cardboard, and tins. I’m going to the chip shop to save the planet…..

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