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Food waste not on the COP 15 menu

By Matt Whitby

The founder of a group dedicated to raising awareness about food waste in Denmark is disappointed the topic is not on the agenda for politicians during COP15.

Selina Juul is a graphic artist who founded Stop Spild Af Mad (Stop wasting food), a Danish non-profit organisation aimed at informing people about the problems of food waste in Denmark. She says the amount of food thrown out by each Dane per year adds up to around $1400.

Selina Juul SSAM foto af Torkel Dyrting-1

Selina Juul wants food waste to be on the agenda at COP15

“Food waste is very large problem in Denmark at the moment. Every year the average Dane throws away 63 kilograms of good edible food,” she says.

These numbers are sourced from the Danish Agricultural and Food Council.

Ms Juul also claims that ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are created by producing food that no one eats, and is concerned this issue isn’t being discussed at COP15.

The group is hungry for change

Stop Spild Af Mad now has over 3.700 members, including politicians and several prominent Danish chefs.

Danish chef Bo Jakobsen works at Restaurationen, a downtown restaurant in Copenhagen. Although not a member of Stop Spild Af Mad, Mr Jakobsen has very strong opinions about food waste. He says the amount of food thrown away in the world is ‘morally disgusting’.

“Fifty percent of the food we produce in the world gets wasted, he says.” “With millions of people around the world starving it’s just ridiculous,” he exclaims.

Apparently the solution is basic

Ms Juul says preventing food waste is very easy and something everyone can do something about.

“It is a very simple problem which we all could contribute to fixing. We don’t have to donate any money. The only thing we have to do is change our mindset, to only use the amount of food that we need, instead of just throwing the food away,” she says.

Ms Juul says she would really love to see some political decisions about less food waste.

“Things like building a network of donating good and fresh leftover food from companies, canteens and restaurants to homeless people, she says.”

During the first three days of COP15, food waste has not been discussed at all.

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It's done - COP15 was from 7-18 December 2009 - and did not reach the expected results. We (the student newsroom and lab) worked from 6-15 December - and reached more than we expected.

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