Is your food waste contributing to world hunger?

According to Love Food Hate Waste “the UK throws away 7 million tonnes of food away every year, half of which was still good to eat”. Such figures are hard to comprehend on the face of it, and might make some actually feel less guilty about not finishing up their leftovers; because well…everybody else is doing the same, what does my waste matter?

7 million tonnes of food away every year, half of which was still good to eat

However, when viewed alongside figures from the World Food Programme that “795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead an active healthy life”, it puts the reality of food waste in this country in a global context. Most of these people are from developing countries, and the stark contrast between their lack of food and our over-abundance is a reminder of why food waste is symptomatic of far bigger global issues.

While many are throwing food away others are going to sleep hungry

Food waste is therefore not just an environmental issue it is a moral issue. Most people in the UK or other developed countries will no doubt identify with pangs of hunger, when their daily life delays the ability to eat for longer than their body cares. But imagine that being a daily or hourly occurrence, spread over not just a few days, but over weeks, months and years. This is even more distressing when processed alongside an awareness of our own food profligacy.

795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead an active healthy life

In truth, one can’t really ‘imagine’ that, it can only be understood when lived. But one can imagine how much food they waste a day or week, and then times that by the 64 million odd people who also have access to the UK’s food abundance to realise that in our globalised world. Not to mention the fact that many of these so called developed countries only have such plentiful resources by buying cheap commodities from these developing countries where food waste is only a sick dream or nightmare.

As somebody who is forever questioning and always searching for some form of answer, however limiting it will be, I am already certain that no answer to why this reality exists is morally ok, regardless of what moral compass you live by.

The impact of food waste

This is exactly why I am getting involved in Zero Waste Week, and have pledged to reduce my own food waste at home. Because I’m sure we are all too aware that a small morsel of food waste may mean nothing in the grander scheme of things to us, but when it is times by 64 million it is a stark reminder that every bit of food could mean life or death for others.


3 thoughts on “Is your food waste contributing to world hunger?”

  1. It’s a challenge isn’t it? I’m sure we all remember our parents telling us there was a child in Africa who would be grateful for our leftovers (and we resolutely told them to send it over then). I believe if food was redistributed evenly across the globe there WOULD be enough to go around. The challenge is, yes, we can ensure we don’t waste food at home, but the reality is, that food we don’t buy ISN’T going where it should. But hey, if we can keep raising awareness and being part of the change, well, who knows what we can achieve. Great post, Toby – thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It certainly is! I completely agree with, and I think there is good evidence that technically there is enough food produced to feed every human being on earth! That is why to me the whole waste issue relates to a greater world issue with the imbalance in the economy, and essentially the hangover of colonialism. You are of course spot on that the food we don’t buy won’t instantly go to those who need it I agree, but for me the point is being aware of what you throw away is helped when you remember that others in less privileged environments are dying because they don’t have enough. And I hope anybody with a heart (e.g. everybody) will agree that the current global situation which allows anybody to go without food is morally abhorrent! But this is because (in my opinion anyway) the economic system we live by is outdated and actually deeply unfair! That’s my two pennies worth anyway 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting! Cheers, Toby


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