“Waste Not Want Not” and Other Hypocritical Lessons

“Waste not want not”: such a commonly used phrase. Usually a tool wielded by parents or grandparents of unwittingly wasteful children who don’t know any better; used along with other such colloquial proverbs as a way of teaching youngsters important lessons about the world. And the lesson behind this snappy phrase is one we could all do with listening to. If all of us use the resources we have at our disposal carefully, without unnecessary extravagance or waste, then none of us should ever be in need or be forced to go without.

It’s all a bit hypocritical really when you think about the amount that we, as the adults and teachers of the world, are wasting on a daily basis. Which just seems ludicrously stupid, to put it lightly. Given the fact that over 8 million people in Europe now live below the poverty line. Given the fact that there has been a 600% rise in food banks in the United Kingdom. Evidently people are in need and people are going without.

It is estimated that around 15 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK every single year. And yet, last year the Trussell Trust reported that 1,084,604 people were given at least 3 days’ emergency food in 2014-2015 by their food banks alone. Food poverty is an ongoing problem and, despite all of our efforts to “reduce, recycle and reuse”, it is continuously overlooked. Indeed, on average every supermarket in Europe throws over 40kg of unsold food into the bin at the end of every single day. It seems painfully obvious that there is such a simple solution that would reduce both food waste and food poverty with one fell swoop of the metaphorical stone.

Morrison’s has the right idea; the supermarket recently became the first in the UK to donate its unused and unwanted food to charity. A commendable move and a tentative step in the right direction, but we must endeavour to do more. We must put pressure on other supermarkets to follow in Morrison’s valiant foot steps, and we must make more legitimate efforts to reduce the daily waste in our own homes.


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