The job of uncovering the global food waste scandalstarted for me when I was 15 years old.I bought some pigs. I was living in Sussex.And I started to feed them in the most traditionaland environmentally friendly way.I went to my school kitchen, and I said,"Give me the scraps that my school friends have turnedtheir noses up at."I went to the local baker and took their stale bread.I went to the local greengrocer, and I went to a farmerwho was throwing away potatoes because they werethe wrong shape or size for supermarkets.This was great. My pigs turned that food wasteinto delicious pork. I sold that porkto my school friends’ parents, and I madea good pocket money addition to my teenage allowance.
But I noticed that most of the food that I was giving my pigswas in fact fit for human consumption,and that I was only scratching the surface,and that right the way up the food supply chain,in supermarkets, greengrocers, bakers, in our homes,in factories and farms, we were hemorrhaging out food.Supermarkets didn’t even want to talk to meabout how much food they were wasting.I’d been round the back. I’d seen bins full of foodbeing locked and then trucked off to landfill sites,and I thought, surely there is something more sensibleto do with food than waste it.
One morning, when I was feeding my pigs,I noticed a particularly tasty-looking sun-dried tomato loafthat used to crop up from time to time.I grabbed hold of it,sat down, and ate my breakfast with my pigs. (Laughter)That was the first act of what I later learned to call freeganism,really an exhibition of the injustice of food waste,and the provision of the solution to food waste,which is simply to sit down and eat food,rather than throwing it away.That became, as it were, a way of confrontinglarge businesses in the business of wasting food,and exposing, most importantly, to the public,that when we’re talking about food being thrown away,we’re not talking about rotten stuff, we’re not talking aboutstuff that’s beyond the pale.We’re talking about good, fresh food that is being wastedon a colossal scale.
Eventually, I set about writing my book,really to demonstrate the extent of this problemon a global scale. What this shows isa nation-by-nation breakdown of the likely levelof food waste in each country in the world.Unfortunately, empirical data, good, hard stats, don’t exist,and therefore to prove my point, I first of all had to findsome proxy way of uncoveringhow much food was being wasted.So I took the food supply of every single countryand I compared it to what was actually likelyto be being consumed in each country.That’s based on diet intake surveys, it’s based onlevels of obesity, it’s based on a range of factorsthat gives you an approximate guessas to how much food is actually going into people’s mouths.That black line in the middle of that tableis the likely level of consumptionwith an allowance for certain levels of inevitable waste.There will always be waste. I’m not that unrealisticthat I think we can live in a waste-free world.But that black line shows what a food supply should bein a country if they allow for a good, stable, secure,nutritional diet for every person in that country.Any dot above that line, and you’ll quickly notice thatthat includes most countries in the world,represents unnecessary surplus, and is likely to reflectlevels of waste in each country.
As a country gets richer, it invests more and morein getting more and more surplusinto its shops and restaurants,and as you can see, most Europeanand North American countriesfall between 150 and 200 percentof the nutritional requirements of their populations.So a country like America has twice as much foodon its shop shelves and in its restaurantsthan is actually required to feed the American people.
But the thing that really struck me,when I plotted all this data, and it was a lot of numbers,was that you can see how it levels off.Countries rapidly shoot towards that 150 mark,and then they level off, and they don’t really go on risingas you might expect.So I decided to unpack that data a little bit furtherto see if that was true or false.And that’s what I came up with.If you include not just the food that ends upin shops and restaurants, but also the foodthat people feed to livestock,the maize, the soy, the wheat, that humans could eatbut choose to fatten livestock instead to produceincreasing amounts of meat and dairy products,what you find is that most rich countrieshave between three and four times the amount of foodthat their population needs to feed itself.A country like America has four times the amount of foodthat it needs.
When people talk about the need to increase globalfood production to feed those nine billion peoplethat are expected on the planet by 2050,I always think of these graphs.The fact is, we have an enormous bufferin rich countries between ourselves and hunger.We’ve never had such gargantuan surpluses before.In many ways, this is a great success storyof human civilization, of the agricultural surplusesthat we set out to achieve 12,000 years ago.It is a success story. It has been a success story.But what we have to recognize now is that we arereaching the ecological limits that our planet can bear,and when we chop down forests, as we are every day,to grow more and more food,when we extract water from depleting water reserves,when we emit fossil fuel emissions in the questto grow more and more food,and then we throw away so much of it,we have to think about what we can start saving.
And yesterday, I went to one of the local supermarketsthat I often visit toinspect, if you like, what they’re throwing away.I found quite a few packets of biscuits amongstall the fruit and vegetables and everything elsethat was in there.And I thought, well this could serve as a symbol for today.
So I want you to imagine that these nine biscuitsthat I found in the bin represent the global food supply,okay? We start out with nine.That’s what’s in fields around the world every single year.The first biscuit we’re going to losebefore we even leave the farm.That’s a problem primarily associated withdeveloping work agriculture, whether it’sa lack of infrastructure, refrigeration, pasteurization,grain stores, even basic fruit crates, which meansthat food goes to waste before it even leaves the fields.The next three biscuits are the foods that we decideto feed to livestock, the maize, the wheat and the soya.Unfortunately, our beasts are inefficient animals,and they turn two-thirds of that into feces and heat,so we’ve lost those two, and we’ve only kept this onein meat and dairy products.Two more we’re going to throw away directly into bins.This is what most of us think of when we thinkof food waste, what ends up in the garbage,what ends up in supermarket bins,what ends up in restaurant bins. We’ve lost another two,and we’ve left ourselves with just four biscuits to feed on.That is not a superlatively efficient use of global resources,especially when you think of the billion hungry peoplethat exist already in the world.
Having gone through the data, I then neededto demonstrate where that food ends up.Where does it end up? We’re used to seeing the stuffon our plates, but what about all the stuffthat goes missing in between?
Supermarkets are an easy place to start.This is the result of my hobby,which is unofficial bin inspections. (Laughter)Strange you might think, but if we could rely on corporationsto tell us what they were doing in the back of their stores,we wouldn’t need to go sneaking around the back,opening up bins and having a look at what’s inside.But this is what you can see more or less onevery street corner in Britain, in Europe, in North America.It represents a colossal waste of food,but what I discovered whilst I was writing my bookwas that this very evident abundance of wastewas actually the tip of the iceberg.When you start going up the supply chain,you find where the real food waste is happeningon a gargantuan scale.
Can I have a show of handsif you have a loaf of sliced bread in your house?Who lives in a household where that crust --that slice at the first and last end of each loaf --who lives in a household where it does get eaten?Okay, most people, not everyone, but most people,and this is, I’m glad to say, what I see across the world,and yet has anyone seen a supermarket or sandwich shopanywhere in the world that serves sandwicheswith crusts on it? (Laughter)I certainly haven’t.So I kept on thinking, where do those crusts go? (Laughter)This is the answer, unfortunately:13,000 slices of fresh bread coming out ofthis one single factory every single day, day-fresh bread.In the same year that I visited this factory,I went to Pakistan, where people in 2008 were going hungryas a result of a squeeze on global food supplies.We contribute to that squeezeby depositing food in bins here in Britainand elsewhere in the world. We take foodoff the market shelves that hungry people depend on.
Go one step up, and you get to farmers,who throw away sometimes a third or even moreof their harvest because of cosmetic standards.This farmer, for example, has invested 16,000 poundsin growing spinach, not one leaf of which he harvested,because there was a little bit of grass growing in amongst it.Potatoes that are cosmetically imperfect,all going for pigs.Parsnips that are too small for supermarket specifications,tomatoes in Tenerife,oranges in Florida,bananas in Ecuador, where I visited last year,all being discarded. This is one day’s wastefrom one banana plantation in Ecuador.All being discarded, perfectly edible,because they’re the wrong shape or size.
If we do that to fruit and vegetables,you bet we can do it to animals too.Liver, lungs, heads, tails,kidneys, testicles,all of these things which are traditional,delicious and nutritious parts of our gastronomygo to waste. Offal consumption has halvedin Britain and America in the last 30 years.As a result, this stuff gets fed to dogs at best,or is incinerated.This man, in Kashgar, Xinjiang province, in Western China,is serving up his national dish.It’s called sheep’s organs.It’s delicious, it’s nutritious,and as I learned when I went to Kashgar,it symbolizes their taboo against food waste.I was sitting in a roadside cafe.A chef came to talk to me, I finished my bowl,and halfway through the conversation, he stopped talkingand he started frowning into my bowl.I thought, "My goodness, what taboo have I broken?How have I insulted my host?"He pointed at three grains of riceat the bottom of my bowl, and he said, "Clean." (Laughter)I thought, "My God, you know, I go around the worldtelling people to stop wasting food.This guy has thrashed me at my own game." (Laughter)
But it gave me faith. It gave me faith that we, the people,do have the power to stop this tragic waste of resourcesif we regard it as socially unacceptableto waste food on a colossal scale,if we make noise about it, tell corporations about it,tell governments we want to see an end to food waste,we do have the power to bring about that change.
Fish, 40 to 60 percent of European fishare discarded at sea, they don’t even get landed.In our homes, we’ve lost touch with food.This is an experiment I did on three lettuces.Who keeps lettuces in their fridge?Most people. The one on the leftwas kept in a fridge for 10 days.The one in the middle, on my kitchen table. Not much difference.The one on the right I treated like cut flowers.It’s a living organism, cut the slice off,stuck it in a vase of water,it was all right for another two weeks after this.
Some food waste, as I said at the beginning,will inevitably arise, so the question is,what is the best thing to do with it?I answered that question when I was 15.In fact, humans answered that question 6,000 years ago:We domesticated pigsto turn food waste back into food.And yet, in Europe, that practice has become illegalsince 2001 as a result of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.It’s unscientific. It’s unnecessary.If you cook food for pigs, just as ifyou cook food for humans, it is rendered safe.It’s also a massive saving of resources.At the moment, Europe depends on importingmillions of tons of soy from South America,where its production contributes to global warming,to deforestation, to biodiversity loss,to feed livestock here in Europe.At the same time we throw away millions of tonsof food waste which we could and should be feeding them.If we did that, and fed it to pigs, we would savethat amount of carbon.If we feed our food waste which is the currentgovernment favorite way of getting rid of food waste,to anaerobic digestion, which turns food wasteinto gas to produce electricity,you save a paltry 448 kilograms of carbon dioxideper ton of food waste. It’s much better to feed it to pigs.We knew that during the war. (Laughter)
A silver lining: It has kicked off globally,the quest to tackle food waste.Feeding the 5,000 is an event I first organized in 2009.We fed 5,000 people all on food that otherwisewould have been wasted.Since then, it’s happened again in London,it’s happening internationally, and across the country.It’s a way of organizations coming togetherto celebrate food, to say the best thing to do with foodis to eat and enjoy it, and to stop wasting it.For the sake of the planet we live on,for the sake of our children,for the sake of all the otherorganisms that share our planet with us,we are a terrestrial animal, and we depend on our landfor food. At the moment, we are trashing our landto grow food that no one eats.Stop wasting food. Thank you very much. (Applause)(Applause)
有一线希望：它在全球已经拉开序幕，就是寻求解决粮食的浪费的方法。Feeding the 5000是一个我在2009年第一次组织的活动。我们用本会被丢弃的食物喂饱了5000个人。从那以后，在伦敦又进行过一次，全国各地以及国际上也在进行着。这是所有组织在一起赞美食物，并同意处理食物的最好方法就是吃它和享受它，而不要去浪费。为了我们所赖以生存在的地球，为了我们的孩子，为了其它跟我们一起分享地球的生物，我们是陆生动物，而我们依赖我们的土地来给我们供应食物。此刻，我们正在摧毁我们的土地来栽种没有人吃的食物。停止浪费食物。非常感谢。