As part of the UK Green Film Festival 2012, the Birmingham Co-operative film society screened the films Happy and Taste the Waste earlier this month. On the Saturday I went along to watch ‘Taste the Waste’, a documentary about the worldwide destruction of food. However, despite many shocking figures, the film did share some bright ideas about how the waste can be reproduced to benefit all.


Food in supermarkets today requires a high standard to be sold or to even make the shelf. If it’s the wrong size, shape, colour or the packaging has been damaged in any way it’s no use and automatically gets thrown away. The film opens showing two dumpster divers practically living off what they find however still eating edible and healthy food, leaving their weekly shopping bill at a mere £10.

Society prefers the new, fresh food and a supermarket worker explains how the old, unappetizing food doesn’t sell despite it still being within its best before date by days. With the quantity of food we throw away the 1 billion who are starving in the world could be fed three times over. This astonishing fact has led teachers in Berlin to carry out practical cooking classes for children to embed the lessons of less waste and nutritional values into the new generation.

Other forms of avoiding food going to landfill and emitting ozone-depleting methane is by turning it into compost or animal feed. However, EU legislation currently restricts the latter which forces the continent to produce 5 billion tonnes of grain which further depletes resources. The film also notes that reducing food disposal by half would help climate change as much as taking half the world’s cars off the road.


The film very much concentrates on the opinions of the interviewees, whether they are part of the production, the supply chain or the sales. Each of which are controlled by consumerism and supermarkets leaving their job and income at risk if they don’t obey orders regarding what should go on the shelf and what should go to waste. A lady working in Paris is specifically seen distressed due to the fact her job is to throw away food that’s grown in her home country of Cameron where people can’t afford the bananas that she is sending to landfill.

This is an information-packed documentary showing case studies from around the globe. Whether it is a positive case of a self sufficient bee keeper in America or a negative case of supermarkets throwing away 1.6 billion apples a year the general consensus is that the system needs to change. Society needs to demand that mouths are fed with everything that’s produced, even if it is a bendy cucumber!