A DIFFERENT LOOK

Documentaries about people and their worlds

Fresh To The Trash

A film by Valentin Thurn

A coproduction with SCHNITTSTELLE KÖLN

 

More than half of our food is going straight to the garbage! Most of it gets thrown away on the way from the field to the shop before it reaches our dining table at all: every second lettuce, every second potato and every fifth bread. This makes approximately 500,000 truck loads per year. Director Valentin Thurn has researched the extent of this waste internationally - in the waste containers of the major markets, warehouses and supermarkets. He has documented overwhelming quantities of impeccable food, partly still in original packaging, often with a still valid minimum shelf life. Up to 20 million tons of food are disposed of every year in Germany alone. And they are getting more and more!
Valentin Thurn talks with supermarket managers, bakers, supermarket inspectors, ministers, farmers and EU politicians in the search for the causes.
What he finds is a global system in which everyone is involved. Everything should be available at all times, supermarkets offer the whole range of goods throughout, until late in the evening the bread on the shelves must be fresh, strawberries are available in all seasons. And everything has to look perfect: a wilted salad leaf, a crack in the potato, a dent in the apple - immediately the product will be sorted out. Yoghurt cups end up in the rubbish bin two days before their minimum shelf life expires.
The fact that half of the food produced is already waste has a devastating effect on the world climate. Agriculture consumes huge amounts of energy, water, fertilizers, pesticides and the rainforest, which is responsible for more than a third of the greenhouse gases. When food rots on the rubbish dump, methane gas, which has an effect on global warming 25 times as much as carbon dioxide, escapes.
The desire of consumers to be able to consume anything at any time also aggravates global hunger. The rising price of wheat shows that today the industrialized countries buy their food on the world market as well as the developing countries. If we were to discard less, we would have to buy less; The prices would fall and there would be more ressources for the hungry.
But there is also another side: Valentin Thurn finds people around the world who try to stop the insane waste: so-called garbage dumpsters who save food from the waste containers of the supermarkets, supermarket directors convincing their customers to buy less climate-damaging products, consumer services that bring farmers and customers together directly. Small steps, however, which could do a lot: if we only reduce the food waste by half in the industrialized countries, this would have the same effect on the world climate as if we did without any second car.

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