A link in an email I received this morning led me to read about the ‘Feeding of the 5,000′ that is to take place in Trafalgar Square in London on December 16th.
The event has the backing of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and it is hoped that 5,000 people can be served between noon and 2pm on the day.
The purpose of the event is to highlight the amount of food that is wasted between farm and fork in the UK annually.
The social impact of this – it is food that could be used to feed the poor and homeless. It has been estimated that half of all the food produced in the UK is wasted, and that households throw out around a quarter of what they buy.
Most of us are aware of how easy it is to over fill the shopping basket, and buy food we don’t really need, particularly in the supermarket.
A generation or two ago, most housewives would draw up a menu for the week, and buy just what they needed, with perhaps one of two treats thrown in. However, now with so much on offer in the supermarkets right under ones nose, it is so easy to buy food on a whim, that simply doesn’t get eaten before it spoils.
FACT – total food waste in the UK is 18 – 20 million tonnes a year.
FACT – 6 – 7 million tonnes is household food waste.
FACT – 1.6 million tonnes is food waste from retailers.
FACT – 4.1 million tonnes is food waste from food manufacturers.
FACT – 3 million tonnes is food waste from food services and restaurants.
The remainder comes from the agricultural, horticultural and commercial sectors.
As you can see from the above figures, by far the biggest waste is from consumers that have already purchased the food for consumption, which simply doesn’t happen. The average household is putting £480 (US$790) worth of food in the trash every year.
There is also the environmental aspect – 20 million tonnes of food that goes into landfill sites. All the energy that has been wasted growing the food, and making and processing the food products too. All the packaging (much of which is non bio-degradable plastic.
The food will be on offer free to passers-by. Soup, smoothies, and freshly made sandwiches will be the order of the day. If fewer than 5,000 turn up, then the food will be given to FareShare to distribute to homeless shelters and other needy individuals.
What can you do to minimize your own food waste? Check out Love Food Hate Waste. There’s good information in there for everyone. We can all do our part in reducing food waste.
Think of this food waste this way. It’s like buying a new desktop computer, or a TV every year, and simply putting it in the dumpster at the end of the year without ever turning it on.