Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

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9780393068368: Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

The true cost of what the global food industry throws away.

With shortages, volatile prices and nearly one billion people hungry, the world has a food problem―or thinks it does. Farmers, manufacturers, supermarkets and consumers in North America and Europe discard up to half of their food―enough to feed all the world's hungry at least three times over. Forests are destroyed and nearly one tenth of the West's greenhouse gas emissions are released growing food that will never be eaten. While affluent nations throw away food through neglect, in the developing world crops rot because farmers lack the means to process, store and transport them to market.

But there could be surprisingly painless remedies for what has become one of the world's most pressing environmental and social problems. Waste traces the problem around the globe from the top to the bottom of the food production chain. Stuart’s journey takes him from the streets of New York to China, Pakistan and Japan and back to his home in England. Introducing us to foraging pigs, potato farmers and food industry CEOs, Stuart encounters grotesque examples of profligacy, but also inspiring innovations and ways of making the most of what we have. The journey is a personal one, as Stuart is a dedicated freegan, who has chosen to live off of discarded or self-produced food in order to highlight the global food waste scandal.

Combining front-line investigation with startling new data, Waste shows how the way we live now has created a global food crisis―and what we can do to fix it. 8 pages of illustrations

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From the Back Cover:

Shocking Facts from Tristram Stuart’s Waste:

  • Around half all food in the US is wasted, while 35 million people live in households that do not have reliable access to food.
  • The US has more than 4 times the amount of food required by the nutritional needs of the population.
  • Just half of the food currently being thrown away in the US could provide the world’s nearly one billion malnourished people with enough food. If trees were planted on all of the land currently being used to grow unnecessary surplus and wasted food, they could offset between 50 to 100 percent of the world’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Amazon rainforest is currently being destroyed to make room for grazing and soy production to supply the world’s growing demand for meat. The land required to produce just the meat and dairy products wasted each year by U.S. and UK households, retailers and foodservices is seven times the amount of land deforested in Brazil.
  • In South Korea, 98 percent of food waste is recycled―being composted or fed to livestock. The exact mirror image prevails in the US where only 2.6 percent of municipal food waste is recycled.

About the Author:

Tristram Stuart has been a freelance writer for Indian newspapers, a project manager in Kosovo and a prominent critic of the food industry. He has made regular contributions to television documentaries, radio and newspapers on the social and environmental aspects of food. His first book, The Bloodless Revolution―‘magnificently detailed and wide-ranging’ (New Yorker)―was published in 2007, and Waste in 2009. A graduate of Cambridge University, he lives in England, where he rears pigs, chickens and bees.

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Tristram Stuart
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