Great news in the War on Waste!

2015 saw a huge development in the war on waste. All over the world people were coming together to combat a sickening reality- so many countries waste an astonishing amount of food every day. It is a global problem and it looks like 2016 is set to continue tackling it, with some great news already on our pages.

Wonky veg:

Asda recently announced it was introducing a new product titled ‘wonky veg boxes’, as a means of reducing the supermarkets amount of food waste. These boxes contain food that is perfectly edible but would otherwise not be sold due to cosmetic reasons. Asda stated that the boxes contain ‘vegetables which are misshapen, have growth cracks, or are a different size than average’, with the actual boxes bearing the words ‘beautiful on the inside’.

Since Asda released this product, Morrisons have followed suit following on from a successful trail they released in late 2015. And finally, late last week Tesco also joined the wonky veg movement, adding boxes to many of their stores also.

With all these supermarkets standing up to the ridiculous guidelines on what makes fresh produce sellable, hopefully we will begin to see these guidelines change, allowing more ‘wonky veg’ onto the shelves where it belongs, not in the trash sending perfectly edible food to rot.

Charitable supermarket giant:

Only a few days ago, Tesco, one of the biggest supermarket giants in Britain, announced that they will be donating all their unsold edible food to charities. Tesco have joined forces with FareShare, a food distribution charity. Together, along with charity FoodCloud, they have devised a scheme in which local stores notify local charities of available food waste that the charities can pick up. After picking up the perfectly edible food, the charities can distribute it to people in need. Tesco aim to work with 5,000 local charities in the UK, aiming to eradicate all of their food waste by the end of 2017. The scheme has already been in place in Ireland but will slowly be introduced into the rest of the UK over the next two years. From a company that admitted to wasting 55,400 tonnes of food in 2015, this is fantastic news and a definite leap in the right direction for the UK.

Selling surplus success:

On the 22nd February 2016, Copenhagen saw the official opening of WeFood, a Danish grocer, that specialises in selling surplus food. All food sold in WeFood is deemed unfit for sale by large scale supermarkets due to minor comestic issues, mislabelling and due to the end of stated purchase dates. WeFood saves this surplus food from landfill and uses it to stock its shelves, selling it at a much lower cost than regular supermarket prices. This store is the first of its kind in Demark and not only is it helping to reduce food waste in Denmark, it is also helping to feed people on a lower income, helping combat two problems at once. So far it has been a huge success and it is hoped that more WeFood stores will open in other locations in Denmark if the success continues.

New French food surplus law:

On Wednesday 3rd February 2016, a new law was passed in Fance that prohibits French supermarkets from destroying unsold food, instead unspoilt food must be donated to charity. It is the first law of its kind and targets the larger supermarket chains, attempting to reduce waste country wide. This is a huge step towards reducing the amount of food waste created by supermarkets and food waste campaigners hope that other countries will follow this example. The new law has had some bad press, with many people wondering if the law is being aimed at the right place, as it does nothing to stop food waste in the biggest problem area- the supply chain. However, regardless of this, I think it is a positive step in the war on waste.

Food recycling makes the front page:

Borderlands, featured in the March issue of National Geographic magazine, is based in Arizona, in the boarder community of Nogales. The Boarderlands food bank is located in a powerful position on the main produce route for food between the US and Mexico. Food arrives at distribution centres here, where a descision is made as to wether it is fit for sale or deemed unsellable and taken to be dumped. This s where boarderlands step in and encourage companies to donate the unsellable produce rather than dump it. As companies have to pay a fee to dump this produce, many of them donate allowing Borderlands to distribute between 25 to 40 million pounds of produce per year. This is a huge amount of produce saved from landfill which is great for the environment and it all goes to help feed people in need. This is a fantastic project that has been working for the past 21 years, a brilliant example of what can be achieved by continuing to fight the war on waste.

These stories show some fantastic developments in reducing food waste and the Borderlands story shows just how successful it can be to use food otherwise destined for landfill. As a society we have become wasteful, with so much food available there should be no lack of support for those in need of a decent meal. Yet there is and the problem will just keep growing unless we come together to change it. Why not take a look at your local area and see how you can get involved with anit-waste projects? Remember, change starts at home so making simple changes in your own life to reduce your own levels of food waste is a great starting point.

References

Asda rolls out wonky veg boxes to hundreds more stores after successful trial and promises ‘overall’ review | Home News | News | The Independent. 2016. Asda rolls out wonky veg boxes to hundreds more stores after successful trial and promises ‘overall’ review | Home News | News | The Independent. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/asda-rolls-out-wonky-veg-boxes-to-hundreds-more-stores-after-successful-trial-and-promises-overall-a6881666.html. [Accessed 17 March 2016].

Tesco to launch ‘wonky veg’ range | Business | The Guardian. 2016. Tesco to launch ‘wonky veg’ range | Business | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/11/tesco-launch-wonky-veg-range-food-waste-fruit-vegetables. [Accessed 17 March 2016].

Tesco launches wonky veg box after Asda success – Coventry Telegraph. 2016. Tesco launches wonky veg box after Asda success – Coventry Telegraph. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/tesco-launches-wonky-veg-box-11035088. [Accessed 17 March 2016].

Tesco to cut waste by giving food to charity every day | Daily Mail Online. 2016. Tesco to cut waste by giving food to charity every day | Daily Mail Online. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3110135/Tesco-cut-waste-giving-food-charity-day-Supermarket-donate-thousands-tonnes-stock-stores-come-pressure-cut-wastage.html. [Accessed 17 March 2016].

Tesco PLC – Tesco and Society – Supporting local communities – Store surplus. 2016. Tesco PLC – Tesco and Society – Supporting local communities – Store surplus. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=886. [Accessed 17 March 2016].

Tesco rolls out nationwide anti-waste strategy. 2016. Tesco rolls out nationwide anti-waste strategy. [ONLINE] Available at: http://ftp.freshinfo.com/fpj/article/168149/tesco-rolls-out-nationwide-anti-waste-strategy. [Accessed 17 March 2016].

Denmark’s New Grocer Is Selling Expired Food, And It’s A Hit : The Salt : NPR. 2016. Denmark’s New Grocer Is Selling Expired Food, And It’s A Hit : The Salt : NPR. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/02/29/468301837/denmarks-new-grocer-is-selling-expired-food-and-its-a-hit. [Accessed 19 March 2016].

Denmark just took a major step to eliminate food waste – The Local. 2016. Denmark just took a major step to eliminate food waste – The Local. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.thelocal.dk/20160222/denmark-opens-its-first-surplus-supermarket-to-combat-waste. [Accessed 19 March 2016].

News. 2016. News. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.globalagriculture.org/whats-new/news/news/en/31628.html. [Accessed 19 March 2016].

Rescuing Rejected Food to Feed the Hungry at the U.S.-Mexico Border | The Plate. 2016. Rescuing Rejected Food to Feed the Hungry at the U.S.-Mexico Border | The Plate. [ONLINE] Available at: http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/24/rescuing-rejected-food-to-feed-the-hungry-at-the-u-s-mexico-border/. [Accessed 19 March 2016].

Borderlands Food Bank. 2016. Borderlands Food Bank. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.borderlandsfoodbank.org/about.html. [Accessed 19 March 2016].

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Rachel Davies

Rachel Davies

Currently studying for an MRes in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Chester. Research focuses on the White-faced Darter, an endangered dragonfly species here in Britain. Rachel also has a blog titled 'working with wildlife'.
Rachel Davies

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