Five thousand people in Trafalgar Square, London, received a free lunch made from fresh ingredients saved from being chucked, as Friends of the Earth help highlighted the scandal of food waste at the Feeding the 5,000 event.
The event highlighted the 16 million tonnes of food wasted in Britain every year and asked individuals, businesses and the government to stop it happening.
Each year, from farm to fork, 16 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK, costing around £22bn. Even though a lot of this food could be eaten by people or diverted to feed farm animals, much of it ends up buried in landfill or incinerated.
Our intensive meat and dairy industry relies on animal feed imported from South America, where forests are trashed to make way for feed crops, with a devastating impact on local communities.
Friends of the Earth is calling for legally permissible surplus food in the UK to be diverted to feed animals – alongside boosting homegrown feed and British grazing this would help reduce UK farmers’ reliance on imported feed and protect people and forests overseas.
Friends of the Earth’s Senior Food Campaigner, Clare Oxborrow, said:
“It’s crazy that food scraps that could feed farm animals end up being buried or burned while farmers waste cash on imported feed that harms communities and forests overseas.
“The Government must make it easier for food that can’t be eaten by people to be fed to animals, such as schemes that link up food retailers and farmers.”
Friends of the Earth highlighted the benefits of feeding safe and legal food waste to farm animals. Not only is this a better use of resources than burning the food or sending it to landfill, it also reduces our need to import animal feeds like soy – which cause substantial human suffering, as well as deforestation and climate change in the countries where they’re grown.