food waste

10 facts about food waste

Here are some things I learned from Tristram Stuart’s book Waste: uncovering the global food scandal.

  • 84% of British households don’t believe they have a problem with wasting food, despite the evidence to the contrary.
  • WRAP may or may not survive the great coalition quango cull, but here’s why it should: WRAP’s research into household waste cost £420,000, and it’s campaign cost £4 million. It has since saved British consumers an estimated £300 million.
  • In the US, 1 million tonnes of food is redistributed every year, helping 26 million people. This is a per person redistribution rate 14 times better than Britain, where we use feeding programmes rather than food banks.
  • If the law banning pig swill was changed, the waste we currently throw away could produce 3 million tonnes of pork at a value of £15bn.
  • A Nigerian restaurant in East London, Obalende Suya Express, charges you a £2.50 donation fee to Oxfam if you don’t finish your dinner.
  • US shops and restaurants serve up 3,900 kcal per person per day, twice the daily recommended daily allowance.
  • 150 million tonnes of grain are lost post-harvest in developing countries, enough to feed all their hungry people six times over.
  • In 2001 Japan demanded that all food businesses recycle 48% of their food by 2006. The measure was so successful in reducing food sent to landfill that a second target has been introduced, to recycle 66% of food waste by 2012.
  • Globally, 33% of food is lost to to consumer waste, processing waste, and post-harvest losses.
  • If we could avoid this loss, we could feed an additional 3 billion people.


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