Why supermarkets need to be taxed for food waste

Why supermarkets need to be taxed for food waste

I’m food waste campaigner, Matt, and I dumpster dive to expose retailers’ shocking business practices.

Since starting my Instagram page, An Urban Harvester, in 2019, I have seen all manner of discarded produce, from piles upon piles of bread loafs to pristine fruit and vegetables which should never have been trashed.

Despite recently winning a United Nations prize for my activism, I still don’t feel victorious as I pose for yet another photo atop of yet another food waste mountain, on a daily basis.

Discovering supermarkets’ dirty secrets

Over these last two years, I have realised that even though global food waste is a complex issue, it is being tackled irrationally. While key reports such as the 2021 United Nations Environment Programme Food Waste Index do cite supermarkets as part of the problem, most blame is laid at the door of the consumer.

Yet the commercial supply chain’s food waste is an entirely separate issue and arguably much bigger.

This is because companies embed food waste into their profitable business models, whereas consumers are just chucking their own wages out the window when wasting food at home.

Companies embed food waste into their profitable business models.

When the average person thinks of ‘food waste’, they probably think of a few rotten apples lying in a compost heap. What they probably don’t think of is:

  • 157 packets of bacon
  • 900 cow cream tubs
  • 800 caged eggs
  • 300 mayonnaise tubes
  • 300 litres of cow milk
  • 180 coffee bags
  • €1,000 worth of cheese

And yet this is exactly what I have been harvesting by bicycle at my local supermarkets in Copenhagen.

In 2021 alone, I have found trashed Uruguayan beef on three separate occasions. If you’re unfamiliar with the distance between Montevideo and Copenhagen, let me help you: it’s 11,980 kilometres.

Environmentally, beef is one of the most destructive foods on the planet, and yet it is a disturbingly common find in supermarket dumpsters.

And it isn’t just Danish supermarkets. Scores of urban harvesting activists based in the Global North post daily evidence as to just how much perfectly edible food is being thrown out daily.

This food waste epidemic is having far-reaching impacts on people and planet. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2 billion people suffered from food insecurity. The latest IPCC and WWF reports indicate that the climate and biodiversity crises are ever worsening.

With global food waste responsible for 8 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, the climate solutions organisation Project Drawdown deems ‘Reduced Food Waste’ as the most effective solution to keeping global warming within 2°C.


The article is taken from euronews.green

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