What a load of rubbish

Growing up in Calcutta during the Sixties and Seventies, I was brought up acutely aware of the role played by energy in my daily life. Load-shedding was a daily occurrence; this, given Calcutta’s average temperatures (27C) and relative humidity (over 90%), ensured that I have a disproportionately high liking for air conditioning and for ice in drinks.

It also meant that a sense of stewardship was instilled in me from an early age, particularly to do with the consumption of any sort of fuel. Even today, when I pass a building festooned with a large number of air-conditioner barnacles, I am overcome with a odd sense of waste.

Over the years, that sense of stewardship has permeated other parts of my life. Take food for example. As a boy I grew up believing the apocryphal tale that the USA throws away enough food to feed Canada. Never bothered to check it out, but had this sense that it may be true.

And then today, catching up on my reading, I came across this:

You can read the whole report here. The figure that most surprised me was this one:

Food waste represents emissions worth 20% of cars on the road? Wow. When you consider that there are some schools of thought that suggest the climate crisis is itself greatly exacerbated by industrialised agriculture, it does make you wonder.

By the time you consider the biofuels argument, it makes you wonder even more.

Rubbish has always been big business. There’s always been “brass” where there’s been “muck”. We need to look at all the ways we can reduce our wastage. Food’s a good place to start.

3 thoughts on “What a load of rubbish”

  1. JP, echo here, about waste; my first impressions of the NHS relate to sense of awe at the waste of all kinds of resources.
    Will need to dig up and update references to TDP- ‘thermolytic de-polymerisation’…an American company was to be literally burning any kind of waste to produce electricity…

  2. Just watched Jimmy Docherty’s Farming Heroes- a farm in Wales using tonnes of food waste and sawdust into fabulous compost! Last week it was Wissington sugar beet factory using CO2 capture to grow tomatoes in 27 acre greenhouse heated by waste heat from the sugar factory; even dirt from the beet was reused as aggregate!

  3. There is food, then water. I grew up in India too, and went through a water crisis. Water is still such a big issue in India. Now in the US, I cringe every time the sprinklers turn on my lawn. Do I really need to waste so much water on grass?
    But food waste is worse. At least there is no good way to transport water between different countries.

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