Reviewing Waste

Tristram Stuart's Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (London, 2009, Penguin) is an excellent book.It has sobering (shocking) and powerful statistics and stories at both micro and macro level. For me, I found it empowering that I could do so much about waste/landfill/emissions/blah blah blah at home, from home, without being dependent on local recycling facilities or needing to spend any additional money.

Since starting Waste, I have scrutinised my food use more closely. We've had shepherd's pie, oat bread from porridge and leftovers quiche several times and I know I've room to improve further. Ehile I was reading the book, I refrained from commenting in depth here, thinking I needed the perspective of having read the entire book. Now I have read the entire book, I partly forget much of what I wanted to say and partly am overwhelmed by how much is in the book versus how close it is to bedtime. A few things which stuck out at the time of reading and now:

1. Cultural mores around baby feeding (p.74). Stuart compares western norms for offering the baby a plate of food in the highchair which mostly decorates everything but the child's intestines, with the practise in India of hand feeding the child gobbets of the adult's food. Less mess, less waste.

2. The fishing industry (chapter 8). Quotas are set and assessed according to what a boat brings ashore. So if they catch what they don't have a quota for, it goes back, usually dying or dead. If they find they have nmoire than they are allowed, the 'excess' is also discarded to rot in the high seas. One statistic suggests that of an annual European catch of 186 million, 117 million are thrown back. Our oceans are being depleted and we aren't even eating most of what is killed.

3. A fascinating chapter on the evolutionary origins of surplus which I want to come back to after I've slept properly.


Just checking I can actually make a comment. It's not enough to have 1.5 thoughts in my head; I have to conquer technology if I want anyone else to let me know their thoughts. As I do.
Mary said…
"Now I have read the entire book, I partly forget much of what I wanted to say and partly am overwhelmed by how much is in the book versus how close it is to bedtime."

Oh I hear you on this one! lol

Interested in the baby feeding too - we essentially follow the baby-led weaning approach - I suspect as much out of laziness as philosophical conviction! (Whoops, did I just say that out loud?)
Rob said…
Just caught up with you this morning. I take away two important things - one book recommendation and one oat recipe, both of which will take us three months to try out as we do not have an oven and cannot carry any more books.
This is Rachael - just in case it calls me Rob as per google account name that we are currently signed in under)
Say it out loud and strong Mary! Hi Rachael. I'm chuffed you found a little time to read here in your computer-lite nomadic life. Thanks both for commenting.

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