Food waste

I hope that you all had a great Christmas.  Like me, you probably ate too much.  At least we can repent in the New Year, and make a resolution to fast.  But that doesn't undo the waste which has come to characterise the festive season today.

Quite apart from the paper and packaging, enough food is wasted over the Christmas period to provide 16 million Christmas meals, 100 million portions of soup, and 30 million people five portions of fruit and veg.
With half of all municipal waste still ending up in landfill, this means that around 8 million Christmas meals will have been dumped in landfill sites.

And as Small Dole residents know only too well - and Thakeham residents fear - this is the most environmentally damaging form of waste disposal.

Obviously it makes sense for us all to try and cut down food waste in the first place.  Christmas at many homes means creative food recycling and soups.  But leftovers from the huge Christmas meal which we all enjoy wouldn't be so bad if Britain had smarter ways to dispose of waste.

While other European countries use their food waste to generate energy, Britain has been slow to develop alternatives to landfill, with the result that far too much rotting rubbish is disposed of in the most environmentally damaging way.

In the New Year, I'll be visiting a new anaerobic digestion plant installed by a local farmer at Kirdford.  Processes like these can produce green energy from food waste.  But while Germany has more than 2,500 of these plants, the UK has fewer than 30.

Christmas highlights the issue of food waste, but it's not unique to the festive season.  8.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away by households in the UK every year, costing the average family with children £680 a year.

In fact, the carbon impact of not wasting food would be the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road.

Now that's food for thought. Happy New Year!

Michelle Taylor