Christmas – the most wasteful time of the year

People around the world waste an enormous amount of food daily. During the Christmas period, families in the UK waste 30 per cent more than they do through the whole year.

Refuse is Durham’s branch of The Real Junk Food Project, a community consisting of cafes and organisations around the UK. They work tirelessly against food waste through different interceptions, redistributions to schools and through catering for large events such as weddings or conferences.

Susie Hart, the Project Coordinator, talked about The Real Junk Food Project and the imporatance to stop food wasting.

She said: “Nikki Dravers first came upon the idea when she had been working at a hotel where she was made to throw away incredible amounts of food everyday and at the same time volunteering at a homeless charity, where she came up against the reality and challenges of hunger and poverty. The needless waste of perfectly good to eat food existing side by side with hunger and food poverty was something she wanted to put a stop too.

“In the UK we throw away £13 billion worth of perfectly edible food. It is important to understand the difference between a use by date and a best before date.”

People don’t know that the use by date is about safety. This date can be seen on dairy products and meat where a bacteria can appear that is not healthy for human consumption. Best before date is about a quality, food won’t taste as good as it would when fresh, but it shouldn’t be life-treatening.

Susie went on to speak about how Christmas is the time of year where food is wasted the most.

“Christmas in general is much more excessive and therefore wasteful time of year – on average UK families throw away 30 per cent more over Christmas than they do over the rest of the year. Much of this is either to do with packaging and wrapping of gifts, christmas cards and food waste.”

We asked the people of Sunderland shared with us their opinion on the matter.

Jiri Nozicka, a student at the University of Sunderland, said: “I think that fighting against food waste is becoming more and more important every year as many people in this world are homeless and do not have any money to buy their own food. In my opinion, the best solution would be to make a law that would forbid restaurants to throw away the unfinished food and give it to the people that truly need it instead.”

Artur Firuta, also a student of the University of Sunderland, said: “Plenty of people eat too much food, therefore it is good that some part of our society want to change this bad habit. Moreover, their activity contributes to be open minded for wasting food by more and more people every year.”

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