I am continuing the stream of thinking coming out of our Environmental Conference a couple of weeks ago. One important presentation was from City Harvest, who redistribute waste food to the needy, mainly in the London area. I am passing on below some of the challenging facts presented to us by Laura Winningham and I am very grateful to her and her ongoing vital work in this area.
It is a crime that we waste so much food in the UK and the western world. Whilst thousands go hungry each day, safe healthy and usable food is being disposed of as waste. There is simply no excuse for businesses with the food and drink sector to be disposing of food waste into land-fill. If you are still engaging in this irresponsible practice, then please stop – now! It is an embarrassment to our nation that the number of people claiming food from food banks has increased exponentially over the past few years, whilst the rich become even richer. We have one of the largest rich-poor gaps in the western world and we should be ashamed. Redistributing the waste within our food businesses makes a small dent in the problem even though it may be a sticking a plaster over a broken limb.
Not only is dealing with food waste helping with a social problem but it also helps with the climate change issue. Methane is the prime culprit in global warming because when food is sent to landfill it decomposes and releases methane, one of the most toxic greenhouse gases. 9% of worldwide greenhouse gases are caused by food waste. A third of all food produced in the world is wasted. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the USA and China in terms of impact on global warming and you would need a country as large as China to produce all the food that is wasted. 28% of the world’s agricultural land is used to produce food that is never consumed.
I think you will agree that the word “crime” Is not an exaggeration. It is time to act and act quickly before it is too late.