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Britons Waste Pounds of Good Food

One third of all food bought in Britain ends up in the trash. That's almost $20 million worth of food each year.

According to a recent study that includes 1.3 million unopened yogurts, 5,500 whole chickens and 440,000 ready to eat meals. In addition, $2 billion worth of the discarded food was totally edible.

The news caught the attention of England's Environment Minister Joan Ruddock. She argued that when global food shortages are so dire, the wastefulness is more shocking.

And as for the environmental hook? Ruddock explained that "there are climate change costs to all of us of growing, processing, packaging, transporting, and refrigerating food that only ends up in the bin." In fact some people want to put pollution on shopper's grocery bills!

Should governments start advocating leftovers as a cheaper and greener option? Do you think about the "children starving" around the world when you don't finish a meal? Does the environment cross your mind?


fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
Several years back, I heard of a school in my area that was composting lunchroom leftovers. The students would then oversee a huge garden where almost all of the produce for their lunches would be grown. Learning about composting, gardening and the environment all at once? Not a bad idea!
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Wait, the Brittish waste food too?!? I thought it was only those disgusting Americans that did things like this...
Puzzle2397 Puzzle2397 9 years
I always try my hardest not to waste food. If I don't eat it when it is first served to me/prepared by me, I will always save it (unless it's just disgusting) and eat it later, no matter how badly the reheating process may alter it. I will admit though, I never make it all the way through a bag of spinach before it goes bad...try as I might. They need to make smaller bags!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
LOL! Yes harmonyfrance I'm into lemon drops for a minute. Thanks hartsfull my honey and I plan on fostering/adopting one day.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
Hypno I love the new avatar. Is that a martini? Don't mind if I do! :cocktail:
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
I know. I used to do that a lot when I lived in the city. Now I live pretty remote. If I go to the store I do stock up. However, we mostly live off the land. I can't say that we never waste. We try VERY hard though not too. Usually it's just something in the fridge that got forgotten or something like that. Food on plates is take only a little, if you want more you can always get up and get more. Otherwise we do leftovers until they're gone. My husband eats them for lunch.
historymystery historymystery 9 years
hartsfull, thanks! I've noticed here that a lot of people who emigrated to Canada are at the market every day, buying only what they need. And in Toronto, that's pretty much people from every corner of the globe. My route to work used to be through Chinatown and you'd see the same women every day buying what was needed for dinner. I think we could all learn a lesson from them, eh?
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
I know a lot of french people and I'm including those in Canada, buy only what they need for that day. My french teacher said she went to the store everyday. Americans like to stock up and sometimes that can be wastefull. I guess I don't really know A LOT French people. Those I know or have known do that though.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
Economics. Thoughtlessness. Carelessness. Being Self-Centered. If you've never lived "poor" it's hard to realize just how important a tiny morsel of food can be. Some understand and don't waste food. But most people are like those who bought huge houses with ginormous mortgages when they could afford it, not realizing that the day might come when they had to choose between the mortgage and food on their table. And because they're so self-absorbed, they want both and they expect the "government" to bail them out. The part of the government who bails them out are those of us who are frugal enough to realize that living within our means is better than betting on the economy. If you have it, spend it and if you don't have it, keep your hands out of my wallet.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Hypno, I think you would be such a sweet and nurturing parent. You say a lot of good things. History, that kitten is so darn cute!
historymystery historymystery 9 years
Here in Toronto, we have a Green Bin program, and now our garbage is split, so compostable (and they give a big list of things you can put in the green bin), recycle glass/plastic, recycle paper and everything else. So since this came in a few years ago, I really started to notice just how much food went wasted in a household of two people. I tend to buy things on a whim and then totally forget about it until it stinks up the fridge. Now I try to only buy what I need as I need it, so 'shop for meals' kind of thing, preventing me from going crazy. I also try (try) to avoid the major grocery stores and go to places here in Toronto like The St. Lawrence Market or Kensington Market or the Chinatown markets for my fresh foods and meats. When we were kids, if we didn't finish our dinner, my mum would put it in the fridge and when we got hungry later, that was our snack. Still didn't eat it? Guess what was for breakfast! I think she did that because she grew up poor, the daughter of two people who grew up in the Depression. You just couldn't waste food period. I know sometimes I take it for granted. I live in Canada, and while not rich, I'm certainly comfortable. Food is easily avaliable, and in a large variety. Strawberries in Dec? Sure! As I get older and start paying attention to the rest of the world, and realize just how lucky I have things, I feel guilty and grateful at the same time.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
You know when I was a little boy most of the adults in my life would bless the food and give thanks. I never was one to be religious but growing up it taught me to be reverent of food itself and not to take it for granted. Most people don't say grace anymore, but I think it is important to understand for ourselves and teach our children that food is a precious resource not to be taken for granted. It's all about shifting the collective mind set. During the sprawl of the Super Markets across the country an illusion was cast over most of us that the supply was endless and always attainable whenever we need it. Not so. This is what we need to realize.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Wow Chery, I can't believe that! That is awful. Cine, compost is a great idea! HOspitals waste a lot too. NOt just food, but medicine, saline, peroxide. If a bottle is opened in a room and the patient doesn't use it all or take it home, they throw it out.
Cherylish Cherylish 9 years
They should totally push leftovers there! I was in London a month ago staying with a friend and my boyfriend couldn't finish his meal at the restaurant. He asked for a box and the waitress literally had no idea what he was talking about. After explaining himself, she begrudgingly got him some foil to wrap it up in. Our friend who lives there later explained that people don't take leftovers there. It's considered bad manners or something. I personally think that's crazy. I would spend twice as much on food if I didn't rely on leftovers half the time.
stiletta stiletta 9 years
With the way things are going, it seems like throwing food away may not be a luxury we'll be able to afford any longer.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Yesteryear, every shelter I have volunteered at they would not allow us to accept food. If I go to a restaraunt and have left overs, if I don't plan on eating it, I give it to a homeless person that I walk past. Although one time I got yelled at by a homeless man for the portion not being large enough for him. I am not a starbucks girl, but I do know they save the coffee grounds for peoples gardens. I suppose that is a plus.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
i did not know that green waste pickup is cheaper... can that be done for homes too or just businesses?
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
cine: you're right. i used to work at a daycare center where we'd throw away a lot of food at the end of each day. i tried to call a shelter to see if they'd take it but they said it was a health risk because it wasn't packaged. i can see where they are coming from because it could be a liability issue if someone got food poisoning. in yet another of my careers i taught restaurants how to compost food scraps. you wouldn't believe how many restaurant owners were resistant to the concept - even though for some restaurants (like coffee houses) 80% of their waste was compostable... and green waste pickup was cheaper per bin! there is a strange stigma when it comes to garbage. people want to just toss it and forget about it.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Unfortunately the food banks and shelters won't take the "good fresh food" from restaurants and individuals. They want non perishable items. Schools should start implementing compost bins.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
i just posted another bit of info but i think it got blocked as potential spam because of a link. basically, not only do we waste all of that food, but the food waste in landfills creates methane which is 21x more harmful to the environment than CO2.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
it bothers me a lot, yesteryear to see so much food wasted. did anyone see the Dirty Jobs episode where Mike went to the pig farm, and the pig slop all came from leftovers at one casino in Las Vegas? I mean, at least it got fed to animals and not just thrown out, but ALL that good fresh food could have fed some hungry humans.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
and... "In 2005, almost 12 percent of the total municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in American households was food scraps and less than three percent was recovered. The rest was thrown away and disposed in landfills or combusted in incinerators. The decomposition of food and other waste under anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Landfills are the largest human-related source of methane in the United States, accounting for 34 percent of all methane emissions. Recover ((i.e. food donations) and recycling (i.e., composting) diverts organic materials from landfills and incinerators, thereby reducing GHG emissions from landfills and waste combustion. ""
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
this is a topic i'm very close to. "Food leftovers are the single-largest component of the waste stream by weight in the United States. Americans throw away more than 25 percent of the food we prepare, about 96 billion pounds of food waste each year. Food waste includes uneaten food and food preparation scraps from residences or households, commercial establishments like restaurants, institutional sources like school cafeterias, and industrial sources like factory lunchrooms. The nation spends about 1 billion dollars a year to dispose of food waste."
Penny-C Penny-C 9 years
Point taken cine-lover but living in the UK I was interested!
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I find it funny that the one time we do not focus on the USA, people ask to focus on the USA. Sometimes you just can't win Liberty!
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