Food is wasted through numerous stages of the food industry including production, processing, retailing and consumption. The main contributor to food waste is in the retailing sector where 20%- 40% of food is rejected before even reaching the supermarket due to size or cosmetic blemishes; this has led to 50% of all food produced worldwide ending up in landfill. Not only is it extremely wasteful but is particularly harmful to our environment as food rotting in landfill produces a gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is a large contributor to climate change.
With one billion people malnourished in the world, why has it become acceptable to disregard food simply because of its appearance whilst still perfectly edible? I will be investigating why this is an issue, is it due to greed or simply stupidity that our planet is overproducing food whilst seeing our fellow humans die of hunger? To be specific 2.5 million children die every year of malnutrition. Our resources are precious which means so is our food, nutrition is the key to a healthy life and we are lucky to have the nourishment we do. If people were less gluttonous and only bought things they needed not wanted there would be a lot less waste.
Drawing on the notion that food was rationed during the war there were huge campaigns ensuring people made use of every last scrap, with a waste not want not attitude people were extremely precious with the materials they had whilst ensuring no one went hungry. I will be questioning when and how we became so fussy and less appreciative of our resources; educating people on how much energy is used in producing our food will be an important element in my campaign. It takes 1000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk and by saving 15% of the food we usually throw away we could feed more than 25 million people a year. By educating people on the importance of being less wasteful and the impact it could have on our environment, introducing solutions to the problem is the next step forward.
“Freeganism is creative living outside of capitalism it’s a combination of the words free and vegan, both living freely, free from the oppression of a wage slave economy and free in that you’re not paying for things and not participating in the money of economy” –Cindy Rosin Freegan. Thrash Lab. (2012).
As the subculture of freeganism is growing so do most of the definitions and perceptions, most freegans have a bad name as dumpster divers and scavengers even though they have a strict etiquette of leaving things exactly as they found them usually even tidier, they ensure that bags are untied and never ripped open as they are respectful of the waste and land. Many of the freegans in America seem to follow a vegan diet although my research has lead me to believe that the majority of freegans in Britain tend to be people who are penny pinching and cannot afford to buy the food they would like, such as students and the homeless so meat is usually consumed if still appearing edible, the overpackaging of our food makes this a lot easier as contamination is near impossible through the many layers of plastic we seem to unnecessarily need.
“Freeganism does not equal dumpster diving, there are Freegans who don’t dumpster dive, people who garden, people who wild forage, people can grow their food and there is lots of dumpster divers who aren’t Freegan. so I just want to make it clear as these two often get made into synonyms in the media and that is not the case. We’re not just opting out of participating in the economy on a purchasing level but for many of us were opting out in the standard work a 9-5 job level and so there is economic need even if it is by choice.” Cindy Rosin Freegan, Thrash Lab. (2012).
There will always be a controversy based around freeganism, the pro that it is contributing to society through an environmentalist perception, avoiding good quality food ending up in landfill whilst feeding those around them. Being a freegan is a political statement against consumerism following the ideology of living for free, living by the motto of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Reducing their carbon footprint by finding a use for almost everything and producing next to no waste themselves.
“Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.” Freegan info. (2008-2014).
Although there is always the risky element of living off the waste of others and the argument that it is unhygienic to eat food out of supermarket bins. People who are unaware of the situation almost always react with a large case of snobbery as with the behaviour of rummaging through bins comes a social stigma.
“Freegans believe in living ethical, free, and happy lives centred around community and the notion that a healthy society must function on interdependence. Freegans also believe that we need to take back control of our time. We can do that by turning our backs on corporate pressure to consume, and to work and take on debt to enable that consumption. We prefer to repair and maintain the goods that already exist, share what is surplus, refuse to buy things we don’t really need, and acquire the few things we really need through recovery of wasted goods and networks of mutual aid.” Freegan info. (2008-2014).