A waiter threw away a bowl of steam rice just because Mei Mai and her friends said they did not order it instead they only asked for a pair of chopsticks. When everyone got very surprise of his action, the waiter explained that it is the policy of the company that all dishes should be thrown away if customer rejected.
According to a research conducted by the Friends of Earth half a year ago, 87 tonnes of food had been threw away daily by the big four supermarkets in Hong Kong.
Besides, WTO reported that 1/3 of food produced had been wasted every day across the globe. It had been completely related to consumerism and this is not any new phenomenon. Food waste had been an issue since a long time ago. In the mid 90’s, Freegan was developed aiming to violate the structure of capitalism and avoiding purchase anything as possible.
Freegan is a term combined of free and vegan. It is a lifestyle to stop wasting resource and live a life with limited resources. One of the famous acts of Freegan is searching for food from rubbish bin. In fact, the food waste collected from the rubbish bin of a supermarket is safe to consume. Once the action started, more and more people became a Freegan and share their harvest with others.
Surprisingly, a young man from US finally brought Freegan to Hong Kong. He started collecting food from supermarket’s rubbish bin. He found a whole chicken, some king crab, non-expired soybean milk, a whole packed of sushi, bread, all of them are in good condition. Gradually, more people joined him and they started to distribute food to homeless people, contacting food bank and other NGOs to share the food with more needy. They then started a group called “The Leftover” this June and extend their service to collect leftover from banquets.
Local NGOs, groups started taking the initiative to combat food waste but seems the Hong Kong government still has not yet done anything. While the legislative councilor had been queried about how the government plan to deal with the problem of food waste created by the local supermarkets, the reply was still “communication in progress”. Perhaps, Hong Kong can take a reference from the UK. UK NGO WRAP successfully encouraged chained fast food group, pubs and hotels to sign a pledge to promise to reduce 5% of food waste and package wastage in three years’ time and increase 7% recycling of package and food waste. It can help to reduce 570 thousand tonnes of CO2 emission.
Self-discipline is important but the government should take action if no businessman takes responsible action. Solid waste charging has been postponed again and again. The government must have a new policy to force businessman and the fellow citizen who may not even be conscious about the waste they have created to stop wasting resources. Our resource should not be used to fill the landfill.
Published on Ming Pao Weekly, Issue 2299
Author: Chan Mei Mai
Photo taken from The Leftovark activity organized by go.asia