In his latest blog for MRW Magazine, env23 founder John Twitchen asks “do we need a food waste champion?”
Defra has appointed a ‘food surplus and waste champion’, a key commitment in its recently published resources and waste strategy. His name is Ben Elliot, co-founder of lifestyle group Quintessentially, and his job is to set an ambitious direction to cut the 10.2 million tonnes of food waste produced in the UK each year.
There’s a lot of food waste out there, much of which is edible, not just peelings and plate scrapings. And yet a recent study by the National Education Union and Child Poverty Action Group revealed that 83% of 1,000 union members surveyed see children showing signs of hunger during the school day. Hunger not only has a negative impact on physical and mental wellbeing, but it also impairs learning by reducing children’s ability to concentrate and can impact wider class attainment through disruption.
The impact on attainment is long-lasting and inter-generational, and has a massive effect on the economy and wider society. Households in poverty with school age children should therefore be a top priority for redistributing edible food.
Elliot said about his appointment: “While families struggle to put food on the table and children still go to school with empty stomachs, there continues to be an unforgivable amount of food waste which is both morally deplorable and largely avoidable.” Quite.
So, do we need a food waste champion? Yes; right behind you, Ben.