03 Oct Why Fetch’em from the Cupboard
My personal journey started when I began researching my food intolerances. I looked into where my food actually came from, how it got to me and what happened to the waste products created.
Most of the alternative foods I could eat were heavily processed and even when they weren’t, they were all wrapped in layers of plastic and excess packaging. Whether it was gluten free bread, rice cakes, brown rice pasta or lentils I wanted to buy, I couldn’t get away from the fact that feeding myself, meant I was creating a mountain of waste.
The reality of the consequences of consuming without question, without considering the impact of that consumption hit me and I finally understood, there is no such thing as ‘away’.
In 2016, that statistics show 26.1 million tonnes of waste was collected from UK households and of that, 15.7 million tonnes went to landfill – nearly 60%. The statistics also say that 45.2% was recycled but we have all seen the recent media coverage which clearly shows that our ‘recycled’ waste is laying in other countries waiting to be processed and has not been dealt with at all.
In 2015 there were 10 million tonnes of food waste, which amounts to one quarter of the weight of all food bought in this country. UK households were accountable for 70% of this waste and it has been determined that 60% of this waste was avoidable.
To cope with the increase in consumption, waste facilities in the UK increased by 18% in the six years between 2010 and 2016 to 11,000. There were also over 1000 illegal waste sites also found, and that could be operating at any one time. The statistics are bad enough, but they do not include any fly tipping, litter or illegal waste sites.
When do we admit that we have to change our habits instead of building more infrastructure to hide the damage we are causing from plain sight? Why is our government not forcing the retailers and manufacturers to do more to reduce the amount of waste that they are enabling consumers to produce?
I decided that I couldn’t wait for the people in power to make the changes, I couldn’t just do nothing – when my son is older I don’t want him to turn around and ask me why I just let this happen.
By the time my son is my age (36), it is predicted that there will be global food shortages, global water shortages, global energy shortages, heavily polluted oceans, degraded soils and an infertility crisis – and that is only naming a few.
None of that makes for comfortable reading, but this isn’t about us being comfortable, it is about providing a future for us and our future generations to live long, healthy lives – free of the fear that the planet we rely on to exist isn’t destroyed by our own hands.