“Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal” by Tristram Stuart: A review

It was through waste and recycling that I first became a ‘green’. At my junior school I remember putting posters up encouraging my fellow pupils to recycle more cans, paper and cardboard.

What we consider ‘waste’ is deeply telling on our attitudes to food, the environment and consumption. As any archeologist can attest, waste reveals huge amounts about a society.

That ‘western’ lifestyles are wasteful probably will come as no surprise to most of Tristram Stuart’s readers. But the scale of the problem and its full ramifications are not quite so easy to grasp. Through a considerable amount of travel, some serious number crunching and lots of dumpster diving Stuart paints the full, shameful picture of our food waste problem.

Reading Stuart’s book is deeply exasperating in many places, through no fault of the author. It’s just frustrating to see so many obvious solutions to many of the problems Stuart examines. That companies allow themselves to waste huge amounts of valuable resources is not only unethical but bad business. That so many governments have failed to adequately tackle waste is plain irresponsible. Food waste means less food for the hungry and an environmental cost paid to grow/raise food which is never consumed.

Rather than rehearse the whole book, which is excellent, I urge you to read it. The calculations on the true costs of food waste are eye-popping as are the estimates that roughly half of all food produced is wasted between plough and plate. It’s an engaging and deeply worthwhile book. Thank you Tristram.

Buy from Amazon: Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
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