’66 tonnes thrown out in three years’.
2010 (Sept-Dec) 11,800kg
Total = 66,685kg
STORMONT is throwing away more than a tonnes of unused food every month. The assembly has thrown out over 66 tonnes of uneaten food over the past three years, figures obtained by The Irish News can reveal.
The huge amount of unused food (payed for at the taxpayers expence) is the equivalent of more than 16 full-grown African elephants or 148 polar bears. In some years the assembly produced more than three tonnes of waste in a single month. The alarming figures come as the executive continues to urge householders through environmental campaigns to stop wasting food. Leader of the Green Party in the North of Ireland Steven Agnew described the level of food waste as “scandalous”. The North Down MLA for the assembly to tackle the problem in 2014 by introducing new legislation encouraging unused food donations. “It is scandalous that at a time when so many food banks are opening because people cannot afford food, so much edible surplus food is simply being thrown away at the seat of local government,” he said. “The public are not only paying for that food to be bought, cooked and served but they are also paying for the costs of its disposal and I am very concerned that with the amount of food wasted, ttaxpayers money is not being spent wisely.” Not to mention also the public are paying the wages of the government MLA’s that are wasting the food.
Stormont was provided with more than £165,000 worth of food during 2013, according to figures obtained by The Irish News Through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. It started recording its food waste in August 2010, with an average of 1,750kg of uneaten food being disposed of by parliament buildings and the wider Stormont Estate on average since then. In a FOI rresponds the assembly said its current waste management contractor was “not commissioned to recycle food waste” but was “committed to do so”. However, it said commercially produced food waste is recycled. Earlier this year The Irish News revealed hungry MLAs have munched their way through more than £180,000 worth of refreshments at assembly committee meetings over the past six years.
Stormonts committee meetings are supplied with trays of tasty snacks, from tea and coffee to sandwiches and variates of biscuits. In October Tesco sparked a food waste debate after the supermarket giant revealed it had thrown away 28,500 tonnes of food in the first six months of 2013. Mr Agnew said food waste was a major environmental problem which if tackled would be the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road. “While there has been a reduction in the level of food wasted at the assembly over the last couple of years, the fact that so much food is still being thrown away certainly doesn’t set a good example or leave a good impression with the public,” he said. “We need a similar law to the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act in place in the USA to enable organisations to donate excess food without the threat of liability.” A spokesman for the assembly said: “The assembly endeavours to ensure that food waste from all its outlets is minimised.”
With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes, The Irish News.
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