Today I had an encounter in Tesco, and I read one of the little snippets of news in the i newspaper, and I began to think about the food we waste. The article said,
In Greece, 5,000 people ate over 2 tons of fruit and vegetables rejected by food stores, as part of an event called ‘Feeding 5,000,’ to highlight the waste of food in advanced societies.
That seemed to me to be quite an interesting way to make a point. Greece is a country whose people have been struggling under the weight of recession
The Greek Reporter says that
one in five Greeks goes shopping without having made a list of what they need, while 17% admit to not eating leftovers and throwing them away. Moreover, only 8% of Greeks are currently reducing their organic waste through composting.
If we think that we are any better in the UK, then we are very wrong. According to information on the Love Food Hate Waste site, we throw away 7 million tons of food and drink every year. (Take a look at that site – it’s quite interesting.)
The good news is that the figure is improving. The same site tells us that between 2007 and 2012, the amount of food wasted has reduced by 21%, which they point out would fill 23 million wheelie bins.
According to figures in The Lancet, cited on the BBC News website, undernutrition causes 3.1 million deaths a year. It is staggering to think that 80% of children whose growth is stunted by undernutrition live in just 20 countries.
Some European countries are endeavouring to cut their overseas aid budget. It has been suggested in this country too by people who feel that the poor of this nation should be given that aid. This surely can’t be the answer. Cutting off aid to the poorest people of the world would condemn many of them to death. It may be true that some of the money given for aid in these countries ends up in the wrong hands, and I’m certain that is true in this country too occasionally, but when we see the slums that some children are forced to grow up in, it is surely a risk worth taking.
Taking aid from the poor and voiceless in any country is no way to solve our nation’s economic problems. As the Bible says in Luke 6v38,
Give and it shall be given to you.
Back to the food; we can all help to reduce the amount of waste by planning ahead, buying smaller amounts at a time. Not feeling the need to buy 3 when there is a 3 for 2 offer (unless we can give one away). Interestingly, I had that conversation with a man in Tesco today. I picked up a pack of Basil and he told me that they were 3 for the price of 2. I told him that I only wanted 1 so the others would be wasted. He only wanted 2 and eventually decided not to take the third even though it would have been free. I have to admit that I was impressed.
Europe is a massive waster of food and yet many want to take away the aid to those countries who have nothing.
Somewhere, we have things wrong.