We’re Not Alone

A friend in London just sent me this link to a column in The Observer of London on sell-by dates. It seems we’re not the only ones chucking plenty of good food, nor am I the only one badgering folks about it. It’s interesting to read about parallel food waste awareness across the pond. Plus you get to see ‘wheeze’ used in Brit slang (see the subtitle).  

While the article discusses sell-by dates, as my previous post did, I promise I read the column well after I’d written that. The columnist notes that 60 percent of UK household trash is food waste. I’m a bit skeptical of the number (she hasn’t responded to my e-mail, but hopefully will), given what I’ve seen from the good ol’ US of trash producing A. If it holds up, though, we may have to pass along our trash producing title back to The Crown. Each American does produce 4.5 pounds of trash per day!  

The EPA’s 2005 waste characterization study, Municipal Solid Waste in the United States, estimates that 12 percent of the entire waste stream consists of “food scraps.” But that figure is probably low because it groups food waste generated during the preparation and processing of food products into “industrial waste.”  

In addition, they don’t break things down into residential and commercial waste. Fortunately, California does just that in their 2004 Statewide Waste Characterization Study. It reported that food was 17.3 percent of the household waste stream. On a related note, I was surprised that apartments and condos produce more food waste than single family homes. Maybe the UK has more apartments than we do, but I’m not sure that accounts for the 300 percent difference.   

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