The recycling pioneers. The Wombles showed back in the 70s how to make "good use of bad rubbish"

Two articles caught my eye today, in contrasting ways. The first was in the Independent, which reported on a new study from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, which claims 60 per cent of the food that we dump – worth some £6bn – has never ever been used or even touched. 


Joan Ruddock, the Environment Minister was moved to say that the figures were absolutely staggering at a time when food prices were rising, customers are starting to struggle to meet food bills, and here we are tossing away 6.7 million tonnes of food which could be eaten.  The figures are not without their controversial side, but you have to say from an energy perspective, the sheer amount of energy wasted in producing, growing, packaging, transporting this amount of food that then never gets eaten is quite outrageous especially given that most of the dumped food ends up in landfill where it emits lethal green house gases, such as methane.

Contrast that with an article In Your Environment by Penney Poyzer – the well known celebrity (she will hate me for that) – who really does walk the talk when it comes to living the green life style and puts most of us, myself included, to shame.  Her article was all about remembering the Wombles; those pointed nosed creatures much loved in the 70s, whose motto was “make good use of bad rubbish”.  She points out, even during the 70s they were ahead of their time recycling all of the things human kind left behind, including clocks,  trains out of barrels, hammocks out of nets and yes, food from skips.

Although you can get carried away with some of the whimsy in the article (“I have got a bit of a thing with olive oil tins”) no-one can deny the sheer obscenity of the current situation, in which a third of all food bought is thrown away. Surely the alternative scenario where we kit out our homes with reusable products, only buy enough food for our needs and, where possible, grow our own food is the only way forward.

There is no choice really, so as she says “Remember, Remember You’re a Womble”