Another Person's Rubbish
2nd March 2011
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They say the customer is always right. However the customer is also demanding, sometimes too demanding. We all know how frustrating it can be when the one thing we want in the supermarket has just run out. It occurred to me this week, while reading about the case of Sacha Hall, who is being taken to court on the charge of 'theft by finding' for taking some of Tesco's discarded food, that maybe customer attitudes are partly to blame for the food waste of retailers. Maybe we shouldn't expect things so much and there'd be less. Of course there is always the, more likely, argument that the reason that supermarkets produce so much is because they can afford it and just in case people do want it, they will earn more from selling it then they have spent producing it. You are a lot more likely to find a lot of edible waste in the bin of a large supermarket than a small independent shop as they probably had more stock to start with and it is likely to be wrapped in a lot more packaging. According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) we waste a third of our food in the UK, partly because businesses often throw out perfectly good food that is passed its sell by date or superficially damaged, as well as that no longer fit for consumption. The fact is waste, in all areas of our society, needs to be reduced. WRAP say that 20% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food. Endless consumption is not sustainable. Many supermarkets use waste to go towards powering the national grid but still many are throwing out massive bins of good food every day.
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