Why do we throw away so much? And how can we stop this kind of waste?
Amazing but true: On the way from the farm to the dining-room table, more than half the food lands on the dump. Most of it before it ever reaches consumers. For instance every other head of lettuce or potato.
When it comes right down to it, no one actually thinks this is okay: Food is not something to be thrown away “because others have nothing to eat”, as younger people would say, and as for the elderly: “I was around during the war and we were glad to get our hands on every crust of bread!” That’s one side of the story. They discover the other side when they venture a look into dumpsters: behind their local supermarket and, if they can summon up enough courage, in the trash cans outside their own door. We’re not talking about chicken bones and potato peels here. The topic at hand is perfectly edible food, some still in the original packaging, and frequently enough not even the ‘best before’ date has expired. Around 100 pounds per household each year. Even more, about twice as much, is ‘rejected’ on fields, in factories and at retailers.
Why are ever-greater quantities being destroyed? We seek explanations: from supermarket sales staff and managers, from bakers, wholesale market inspectors, welfare recipients, ministers, farmers and EU bureaucrats. It’s a system that we all take part in: Supermarkets constantly have the complete selection of merchandise on offer, the bread on the shelves has to be fresh until late in the evening, strawberries are in demand at any time of the year. And everything has to look just right: One withered leaf of lettuce, a crack in a potato or a dent in an apple and the goods are sorted out; containers of yogurt as early as two days before the ‘sell by’ date has expired.
Agriculture is responsible for more than a third of the greenhouse gases worldwide because farming requires energy, fertilizers and land. What’s more, whenever food rots away at a garbage dump, methane escapes into the atmosphere, a climate gas with an effect 25 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. In other words, when we waste half of our food that has a disastrous impact on the world climate.
And on famine, too. My mother always reminded me to eat everything on my plate: “Children in Africa would be glad to have that food.” We children never took her seriously. How were the leftovers on our plates supposed to get to African children? Yet my mother’s statement proved to be as good as prophetic. The rising prices of wheat clearly illustrate the point: These days we buy our food on the same world market where developing countries buy theirs. If we threw away less and bought less as a result, the prices would drop and more would be left for the hungry.
Germany: Atlantis Environment- and Nature- Film Festival, Best Film 2011 Czech Republic: 37. EKOFILM International Film Festival on the Environment and Natural and Cultural Heritage: Documentary Film Award 2011 Slovak Republic: 38th International Festival of Sustainable Development Films – ekotopfilm 2011: GRAND PRIX EKOTOPFILM 2011 – Prize of the Government of the Slovak Republic Armenia: SunChild Film Festival 2011, Special mention in the Environmental Film Competition Romania: International Festival of Ecology and Environment Protection Films 2011, Grand Prix, Marele Premiu Eco Fest Oradea Hungary: Plaquette of the International Scientific Film Festival 2011, Szolnok China: Sichuan TV Festival, Nomination for the International “ Gold Panda” Award 2011, Best Long Documentary in the category of Nature & Environment Germany: Environmental media award of the Deutsche Umwelthilfe 2011 Germany: Audience Award, third place, by the readers of the Thüringer Allgemeine Zeitung Germany: Audience Award, „Goldene Zwiebel“, Best Documenatry Film by the Repetory Cinema in Esslingen Germany: Hoimar-von-Ditfurth-Preis of the Deutsche Umwelthilfe for the best journalistic achievement (together with the film "Radioaktive Wölfe") Belgium: Imagé Santé Festival, Liège, first prize in the Environment session Germany: Readers Award 2011 by the Webseite „Lovelybooks“ for “Die Essensvernichter” – book to the film „Taste the Waste“, 3. Place in the non-fiction book category
Berlinale 2011, Culinary Cinema, Germany CinemAmbiente 2011, Environmental Film Festival, Torino, Italy Ecrans Noirs Festival 2011, Kamerun Seoul Int. Youth Film Festival 2011, South Korea Natur Vision Film Festival 2011, Germany Fünf Seen Filmfestival 2011, Germany Montreal World Film Festival 2011, Canada Cambridge Film Festival 2011, UK ATLANTIS Natur- und Umweltfilmfest 2011, Germany International Scientific Film Festival Szolnok 2011, Hungary Darsser Naturfilm Festival 2011, Germany Vancouver Film Fest 2011, Canada, series on the environment ECOFILM 2011, Czech Republic Beirut International Film Festival 2011, Lebanon, culinary section “Alimenterre” International Doc Film Festival 2011, Czech Republic Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2011, United Arab Emirates SunChild International Environmental Festival 2011, Yerevan, Armenia ekotopfilm 2011 - International Festival of Sustainable Development Films, Bratislawa, Slovak Republic International Festival of Ecology and Environment Protection Films 2011, Romania Human Rights Nights-Festival 2011, Bologna, Italy Sichuan TV Festival 2011, Kategorie Natur und Umwelt, Sichuan, China UMUNDU - Festival for sustainable consumption 2011, Dresden, Germany One World Film Festival 2011, Berlin, Germany Best of INPUT Film Festival 2011, Kaohsiung, Taiwan Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2012, USA Victoria Film Festival 2012, Canada Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 2012, Washington, USA San Francisco Green Film Festival 2012, USA Salt Spring Film Festival 2012, Canada ONE World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival 2012, Czech Republic Imagé Santé 2012, International Health Film Festival, Liège, Belgium FIGRA 2012, le Grand Reportage d’Actualité et le Documentaire de Société, France Festival du Film Vert 2012, Switzerland and France Glopolis Film Festival 2012, in Luxembourg Human Rights Film Festival of Barcelona 2012, Spain Green Film Festival in Seoul 2012, Korea UK Green Film Festival 2012, United Kingdom Green Nation Fest, June 2012, Brazil SEMBRANDO CINE - Film Festival, Lima, Peru, June 2012 FesTVal de Vitoria, Spain, Aug. 2012 SLOW FILME – International Film and Food Festival, Brasilia, Brazil, Sept. 2012 Green Screen Festival Eckernförde, Germany, Sept 2012 DR Environmental Film Festival, Dominican Republic, Sept. 2012 Festival des Libertés, Brussels, Belgium, October 2012 Film & Cook Festival, Barcelona, Spain, October 2012