Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Waste

Christmas shopping and consumerism is a hot topic. Even those who might be doing less Christmas shopping like to make sure they're stocked up on food for the time when the stores are closed. But how much are we consumers actually stocking up? Some years December hits a 25% increase in food purchases over the other months of the year. And while many of us may be fearful of the increase of our waistlines we had better be looking at another Christmas bulge – our trash bins aren't just bulging with Christmas wrapping paper and gift packaging. They're bulging with food.

25% Spike in Food Waste

At no other time of year do consumers throw away so much food. End consumers are responsible for over 40% of all food waste in industrial countries. During the holiday season this number spikes. It is estimated that we throw away an additional 25% of our food during and after Christmas. All that extra food we buy for Christmas drifts directly to the trash.
But Christmas is a time of charity, of compassion. Many of us donate money to the less privileged of this world. Half of all financial donations to charitable institutions are made between the end of November and the New Year. We might better help the poor of this world, however, by ensuring that there are less poor in this world. We can do that by ensuring stable grain prices so that people with low incomes can continue to afford their daily bread. The more that food is being thrown away, the more food is being produced and purchased. This drives up global food prices. Of course additional factors, like commodities speculation and ethanol production, play a role in increasing grain prices. But avoiding food waste is an area where each of us can contribute to making the global situation better.
Stabilizing Global Food Prices
Christmas will soon be over this year, but we can still make use of the extra food we purchased before the holidays began by eating it instead of letting it go to waste. By doing this we may not be directly inviting an impoverished person to join us at our table, but we show our solidarity by ensuring that more people can afford the food they need to eat. And a year of food is one of the best gifts that we can pledge to give for next Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. You can't stabilize food prices with central bankers running the printing presses in overdrive.

    Ben Bernanke hates little old ladies on fixed incomes and wants them to eat Alpo.