LAURA CARTLEDGE: Food waste is a weighty issue – but it is just the tip of the iceberg

Laura Cartledge.
Laura Cartledge.

THREE Eiffel Towers. That’s what the weight of six months of Tesco’s food waste adds up to.

Or 10,000 average-sized African elephants. I’ll admit I find it difficult to think in tonnes.

However, whichever way you look at it – it’s ridiculous.

But I can’t say I was surprised at the figures released this week; I was more saddened.

In a time when food banks are seen to hold more value than the other banks, the government wants to win points with school dinners and it looks like we may be able to buy our baked beans but not afford to heat them. The problem is well known.

My household, like many others I am sure, will have ‘those’ dinners. You know the sort – leftover spaghetti with a side portion of yesterdays soup, and half an iceberg lettuce followed by three yoghurts. Questions of ‘which flavour do you want?’ are met with ‘what’s the date on them?’.

While an assortment of Tupperwares – each holding too little to be useful but to much to throw away – are left on the fridge shelf of doubt as nobody can remember exactly how long they’ve been there.

There has been a lot of finger pointing as to whether the supermarkets or shoppers are to blame. The answer is both.

But in my opinion this is just the surface of the issue.

Compared to the rest of the continent our recycling is – for the lack of a better word – rubbish. In Germany, for example, you have five bins. And supermarkets give you money back for returning bottles – both plastic and glass. Whereas here it can be the ‘wrong sort of cardboard’.

All waste is...just that. But if we are to live up to the ‘want not’ of the old saying we have to take the whole thing back to its roots.