It’s not the ‘skipping’ three who should be questioned, it’s the wasteful supermarkets

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Natalie Bennett Green Party Leader

In a world where nearly a billion people go hungry, this model cannot continue

It was a commenter on my Facebook page who put the skipping’ charges against three men who were taking discarded food from a bin at an Iceland store in North London in the best perspective I’ve seen – they said: if there’s a crime here, it’s only the (non-legal) one of wastefulness, in which case it’s the supermarket that should be in the dock, not the dumpster divers.

Three men are being charged – the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said it sees “significant public interest” in proceeding – accused of taking stealing tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and Mr Kipling cakes from a supermarket’s bins. Police say they retrieved and “returned” the items to the store. That is to say they ensured what was undoubtedly perfectly good food went into (at best) composting or anaerobic digestion, but quite likely into landfill.

You do have to wonder if there’s a campaigner in the CPS who thinks it is time to put the entire supermarket model of food distribution on trial.

Recently, Tesco admitted that more than 30 per cent of bagged salad is wasted in store, and 40 per cent of apples. In total in the first six months of last year, 28,500 tonnes of food waste were generated in its stores and distribution centres. No doubt the other giant oligopolists that dominate our food chains are similar.

The fact that ‘dumpster diving’/‘skipping’/‘bin raiding’ is a new phenomenon is clear from the absence of a settled name – but it’s clear that it the practice is spreading fast. That’s a product of the rising desperation in our society that has seen foodbanks become one of our fastest growing industries, as I saw for myself last week on a visit to one in prosperous Winchester.

We hardly need a reminder of how wasteful the supermarket model is. It’s based on the principle that every item will be in stock all of the time, and will be shipped back and forth across the country, or the globe, from grower to packager to warehouse to store. Inevitably, enormous quantities go to waste. Continue reading

Green Party response to Osborne’s Autumn Statement:

Another missed opportunity to restructure the economy and deliver a sustainable future

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s Autumn Statement was dominated by short-term political considerations and a failure yet again to either address the underlying, structural problems which weaken the health of the British economy or move us to a low-carbon, affordable energy future, says the Green Party. Nothing has been done to prepare for the economic storm on the horizon.

In the Autumn Statement, Osborne insisted that “Britain’s economic plan is working” and that the Coalition Government is overseeing a “responsible recovery.”;

In response to the Autumn Statement, Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader for England and Wales, said:

“Mr Osborne was so keen to claim that this was an Autumn Statement for the long term, yet on this issue, as others, he is clearly a man who protests too much. Continue reading