Our screening of the new film Wasted!

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste

The Felix Project recently organised a screening of the new film Wasted! at the Curzon Cinema in Chelsea. I learned to think about a pig’s rectum in a new way last night. Here’s why…

Wasted! is a documentary that sheds light on the horrific reality of global food waste. According to the film, every year 1.3 billion tons of food is thrown away. That’s about $200 billion worth of food which is produced to be eaten, but instead is thrown away. None of us want to pay more taxes and we all scavenge through the bargain section in the supermarket, yet we literally throw money into the bin in the form of food. We’re constantly sending money to countries across the world to try and fight world hunger, yet we have no respect for our own food. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

The aim of the film is to change how people buy, cook and eat food. That’s where the pig’s rectum comes in: Danny Bowien makes things that we consider disgusting into dishes that actually looked pretty edible, if not delicious. He puts a big middle finger up to ideas of what we should and shouldn’t eat. We would perfectly happily eat the fatty flesh of a pig, but it’s rectum? Ew! That’s where things need to change.

At the Q&A, some of the key questions that came to mine and the audience’s mind were ‘What can I do to reduce food waste?’; and ‘Why is our government not doing something about this?’.

The main thing we can all do to reduce food waste is to BUY LESS FOOD! We all love the feeling of opening the door of the fridge to see it brimming full of all our favourite foods, and none of us can resist a 2-for-1 Twix offer. But, in the UK, 44% of the food we buy wasted every year. Basically, our eyes are too big for our stomachs.

The second thing we can do easily is to compost. This really hits a nerve for me, as my family have always composted. I find it hard to put food into the normal bin at other people’s houses, and have had copious arguments with my boyfriend about getting a compost bin for his flat. If you’re too sensitive to have a little bin with smelly food in, just wait until we’re all chocking on methane! When we send food to landfill in bin bags, it decomposes without oxygen. During this process methane is produced, which traps up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide within a 5 year period. So the message is simple – if you don’t start composting your food now, you’re digging an early grave for your grandchildren. Apologies for the morbidity, but there’s no point painting a pretty picture about it.

In terms of government initiatives, France and Italy are leading the way in Europe. In both of these countries, it’s illegal for supermarkets to throw away or destroy unsold food. Instead, this food must be given to charities or foodbanks – much like what The Felix Project does in London. In South Korea there are also ingenious laws to try and encourage citizens to reduce their own household food waste: every person has a card needed to access to food waste bins, and their waste is weighed. The amount of food each household throws away determines what fee they pay at the end of the month – the less waste, the less they pay. That’s like reducing your taxes by wasting less food – isn’t that the policy of dreams?

Disappointingly, no such approaches are in place the UK. Organizations like The Felix Project have come to exist to fill this policy gap. As far as I’m concerned, the lack of policy tackling food waste in the UK is a slap in the face for all those living in food poverty.

As a 20 year old intern at The Felix Project, this film was a truly positive affirmation of the importance of what we are doing. However, it would be great if The Felix Project didn’t have to exist. That means you need to get your compost bins from the council, stop stuffing your fridge to bursting, and go and pester your MPs until they file for a restraining order!