I have taken an extract below from a United Nations report, which should make every one of us stop and think. I suspect we are all guilty to some extent, although as my children would vouch, I hate waste and have instilled in them not to needlessly throw anything away.
Why oh why do UK supermarkets still market FRESH produce – “buy one get one free”. My local Tesco recently had enormous cauliflowers with this marketing ploy splashed across them. I watched as shoppers couldn't resist the offer – but to get through this amount you would ideally be planning to make cauliflower cheese for your local rugby club – waste was inevitable.
This is what the report stated:
“The food the world wastes accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than any country except for China and the United States, the United Nations said in a report on Wednesday.
Every year about a third of all food for human consumption, around 1.3 billion tons, is wasted, along with all the energy, water and chemicals needed to produce it and dispose of it.
Almost 30 percent of the world's farmland, and a volume of water equivalent to the annual discharge of the River Volga, are in effect being used in vain.
In its report entitled "The Food Wastage Footprint", the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that the carbon footprint of wasted food was equivalent to 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year.
In the industrialized world, much of the waste comes from consumers buying too much and throwing away what they do not eat. In developing countries, it is mainly the result of inefficient farming and a lack of proper storage facilities.
"Food wastage reduction would not only avoid pressure on scarce natural resources but also decrease the need to raise food production by 60 percent in order to meet the 2050 population demand," the FAO said.
It suggested improving communication between producers and consumers to manage the supply chain more efficiently, as well as investing more in harvesting, cooling and packaging methods.
It also said consumers in the developed world should be encouraged to serve smaller portions and make more use of leftovers. Businesses should give surplus food to charities, and develop alternatives to dumping organic waste in landfill.
The FAO estimated the cost of the wasted food, excluding fish and seafood, at about $750 billion a year, based on producer prices.
The wasted food consumes about 250 cubic km of water and takes up about 1.4 billion hectares - much of it diverse natural habitat that has been cleared to make it arable”.
So, let us all start to do our bit right now – to throw away a third of all fresh food that we buy is nothing short of abhorrent.