Picture: Yoaimaruc Garcia.
Should I put these potatoe peels in the bin? Shall I freeze them to make soup? Do I really need this smoked paprika in the cupboard? Yes, I have to admit it, recently I have been living traumatised with the idea of wasting even a tiny leaf in my kitchen, to the point that my fridge is now half empty and even the dog seems to be asking; “Where is the food, Mum?”
In the UK we waste, and we waste a lot! The latest figures available from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) shows that food surplus is increasing, and every year business and households altogether throw away 10 million tons of food, which has a value of over £17 billion. 60% of that food is perfectly recoverable and, in the right hands, could mitigate the hunger of almost 12,8 million people living in poverty in the UK.
The statistics are even more eye watering, when the breakdown per household shows that this waste costs per capita an average of £200 per year, £470 per household and, for those families with children, the loss goes up to £700. This is when it touches people like me. I have a family of four, with a dog included, and the idea of losing money drives me definitely nuts. I am worried.
The media campaigns of more than 10 organizations nationwide tackling food waste and supermarket surplus keep insisting that I should not bin anything. Instead, I should be creative, measure, think, plan ahead, buy daily and overall not to waste! Half of me is totally engaged, but my other half is saying, “Hang on a minute, not all of the waste, and food poverty in the UK is my fault!”
There is no question. It is common sense not to waste. It is worth educating the public in the matter and minimising the food poverty. However, to worry people to a point that you have to feel guilty for all the waste around the world, the supermarkets surplus, for all the homeless and poor people that don´t have anything to eat, is insane. I can not feed them from the modesty of my home in Woking or with my potato peels! It seems that food waste and worrying about the hungry homeless is the new thing since 2016, that didn’t exist before. When the reality is that it has existed forever. I am not saying that I am against these initiatives. What I am against is the sense of urgency, the worrying need to ‘do something now’ that these campaigns impose on your mental health. The real pressure has to go to UK´s supermarkets, and those that throw away a total of 710,000 tons of food per year.
To begin with, I suggest a real legal push in supermarkets to be wiser and more sensitive buyers with the producers. do not push them to overproduce and do not be picky with the sizes and shapes of vegetables. Let’s face it, charities help to redistribute only 2% of the supermarket surplus (47,000 tons), which is small, right? The urgency here is to tell the industry to cut the lies, to use their facilities to give free food, to cook for the hungry and have a more honest behavior.
By Yoaimaruc Garcia.
I agree that wasting food is almost a crime against those that don´t have anything to eat. But, that is not my fault