Friday, March 16, 2007

Wasting Food

The BBC has an interesting article reporting that Britain wastes 3.3 million tons of food per year. Many of the things stated in the article make a lot of sense, for instance, that much of the cause of wasted food is that people are gravitating for towards fresh foods, which have a shorter life. Also, half of the wasted food is actually inedible - things like tea bags (it's England; imagine how many tea bags they go through ;-)) and bones.

Now, as those who know me are well aware, I hate waste of any kind - wasting food, wasting energy, wasting money, etc. - in and of itself. Thus, I don't like the idea of wasting 1.65 million tons of edible food per year. This got me to thinking, though, about why I hate waste. Why is waste a bad thing (or, better, why do I consider waste a bad thing (so as not to beg the question)).

Without spending too much time on it, I think that the main reason I hate waste is that I perceive that whatever is being wasted could be put to good (or better in the case of money) use/towards a good end, which will now suffer a lack of an important resource. I also dislike waste because of the side effects it has - for instance, in the case of energy, not only is one spending money on unnecessary energy, but one is contributing to the consumption of resources without any good reason.

Regarding wasting food, I dislike it for multiple reasons. One is that it is a waste of money which could otherwise be put to good use. Another is that, like most children, I was often told in childhood that we should appreciate the fact that we have so much food while so many others elsewhere do not. While this may sound very trite and childish, there is a lot of truth to it. Thus, I am usually well disposed towards the attitude that we should not waste food in the interest of preserving/affecting the food supply in such a way as to benefit those who are hungry elsewhere (I know I'm glossing over the fact that a substantial portion of the hunger in the world is caused not by economic pressures, etc., but by government corruption and the like).

In the case of this article, however, the thrust of the piece is that wasting food is bad because it will contribute to . . . . wait for it: global warming.

I'm just going to leave it at that.


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