I just visited my local 7Eleven and something struck a cord. As I went to the counter I noticed the Chinese student working the late shift sifting through a large box of packaged sandwiches. You know the type, hermetically sealed triangles of turkey and mayo on wholemeal, roast beef and lettuce on rye, ham cheese and tomato on white bread all perfect and all sealed in hard plastic. As I suspected he was checking dates for even the sealed sandwich can drop below $4 in value and be considered unpalatable. The box was full and must have contained 20 or more sandwiches not all of which would end up in the garbage but as the Chinese student told me that was their destination. Such waste.

We never think of what happens to that which we do not buy.Citation

All commercial food outlets must have shelves full of fresh delectable delights to tempt us, the discerning consumer. We never think of what happens to that which we do not buy. The soup on a stinking hot day, the salad roll on a Friday when we have forgotten our diet they both end up in the bin. A complete waste of food. A complete waste of transport fuel, a complete waste of cooling and heating, a complete waste..

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Our modern society is pretty crap at providing food efficiently. We need to waste huge amounts to make the production and sale of the majority – and sometimes minority – profitable. So we push down the prices for farmers, encourage them to over farm and use industrial fertilisers and pesticides all of which harms the land.

Do we care? We can chose not to buy pre-packaged food but that will just mean more waste, at least in the short term, we can chose to buy from those that make food from scratch and recycle their scraps, and we can do the same at home. Buy fresh, cook for yourself your neighbours and work mates and try to waste less. It won’t change much but at least you’ll feel better.

We haven’t really achieved much have we?

David J Campbell


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