Obscene levels of food waste – a transformative encounter

On Friday 28th August myself and the skipped smoothie retinue Rachel Solnick and Ellie Stevens visited one of the main fruit veg wholesale markets in the UK, serving all of London the Midlands, East Anglia and Kent. We went to reclaim some of the food waste that is generated daily at the market. It was our mission to relocate the misplaced food, mix the ripe and fragrant fruits and virile vegetables into immune boosting smoothies and distribute them for free to attendees of climate camp, using the great tasting smoothies as an example of the ludicrous scale of good food going to waste on a daily basis in the UK. However, before transporting the free and perfectly edible fruit to the Blackheath climate camp, the shock of physically encountering such enormous piles of mouth watering fruit and veg destined for landfill and anaerobic biodigesters jolted me into vowing to examine the UK food production line.

Food consumption in the UK accounts for an average of 1.5tonnes per person of CO2 emissions annually, almost the same quantity of C02 emissions generated from average flying habits of UK residents (1.2tonnes). It is estimated that the UK, EU and America throw away almost half of the food that they produce and import. If the food industry and individuals reduced their food waste by half, then carbon emissions related to food production would be cut by 50%.  However, it is not simply the carbon emissions associated with food waste that are problematic, but also the unnecessary consumption of resources and the social injustice that food waste perpetuates. More