6 Minute English
How much food do you waste?
Episode 170511 / 11 May 2017
In this programme, Neil and Dan discuss how food waste could cause the end of the world, and who's doing something about it. And they teach you six items of useful vocabulary
This week's question:
How much of the world’s food is wasted each year?
a) a half
b) a third
c) a quarter
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.
something you throw away or lose without using or consuming
the remains of food or a meal, which have not been eaten
a place where rubbish is dropped or buried
a household name
well-known by ordinary people of a particular place or culture
the basic systems and services of a society
more than needed
Note: This is not a word for word transcript
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English– the show that brings you an interesting topic, authentic listening practice and six new items of vocabulary. I'm Dan…
And I’m Neil. In this episode we’ll be discussing food waste, just as soon as….
Neil, did you just throw the rest of that apple away?
Yeah. It was quite a big one and I couldn’t finish it.
Neil, you know you shouldn’t waste food.
Waste meaning to throw away without consuming or using. Ah, it’s only an apple. It’s not the end of the world, Dan.
Well, that’s where you could be wrong, my friend. Let me prove it to you, with this week’s question. How much of the world’s food is wasted each year?
a) a half
b) a third
c) a quarter
I’m not sure. I know it’s a lot so I’m going to say a) a half
We’ll find out if you’re right or not at the end of this show. So, the actual figure is 1.3 billion tons of food, which is enough to feed a billion hungry people. Where do you think all this food waste comes from?
Well, restaurants, I imagine. I mean, they can’t give one customer’s leftovers to another! That would be unhygienic!
Leftovers are the remains of food which has not been eaten. And while you are right, restaurants are not the main contributor to food waste.
Supermarkets! I bet they throw out loads of food once it goes past its sell-by-date, or the date which it can be legally sold by.
Think closer to home.
It’s us, isn’t it?
Yes. In Europe an incredible 53% of food waste comes from households, which results in 88 million tonnes of food waste a year. And I bet you can’t guess what we do with it?
I want to say recycle, but I can see from your face, Dan, that it’s not.
No. Unfortunately it goes into landfills and decays.
A landfill is a place where rubbish is buried. I see, so the food rots and this causes greenhouse gasses which lead to global warming and climate change.
Exactly, and the end of the world. But, remarkably the European country of Denmark has managed to reduce its food waste by a very significant 25%
That’s impressive, how did that happen?
They attribute it to a woman called Selina Juul.
I’ve heard about her. She became a household name in Denmark overnight!
A household name is one which everybody knows, and that’s right.
I thought she was Russian?
She is. But, I’ll let her explain.
I come from a country where there were food shortages, back then in Moscow, communism collapsed, we had the collapse of infrastructure, we were not sure we could get food on the table. And coming to Denmark, seeing this abundance, seeing these supermarkets filled with food. But then I was really shocked to see a lot of food getting wasted.
So Selina grew up in Moscow at a time when there wasn’t enough food because of the collapse of infrastructure, meaning the basic systems and services of a society – such as food transportation.
Then when she moved to Denmark, she found an abundance, or more than enough, food, but she saw it being wasted.
So she decided to do something about it?
Yes. She started a Facebook page in 2008 called ‘stop wasting food’ and 9 years later the Danish government credits her for their reduction in food waste.
How did she do it?
Well, lots of ideas really. She convinced some supermarkets to stop selling their items in bulk so that people buy only what they need. She’s produced a leftovers cookbook and she’s working with three governments to set up an education programme in schools.
Wow, she’s a busy woman. So how about you educate me with the answer to this week’s question.
Sure! I asked you how much of the world’s food is wasted each year?
a) a half
b) a third
c) a quarter
And I said a) a half
And I’m terribly sorry, mate, but you’re wrong. The answer is b) a third.
Well, it’s not as bad as I thought it was, at least.
Shall we look at the vocabulary then?
Yes, let’s. First we had waste. If you waste something, you throw it away or lose it without using it or consuming it. Common things we waste are food, time, money and energy. We also have some expressions with waste too. Can you think of one, Dan?
A waste of space is an expression which means a thing is completely without value. For example, I’m a complete waste of space in the kitchen. I can’t cook at all. Next we had leftovers. Leftovers are the remains of food or a meal, which have not been eaten. What do you tend to do with your leftovers, Neil?
Oh I love leftovers! Sometimes I think they taste even better than the original meal!
I agree! Pizza’s a great example!
Then we had landfill. A landfill is a place where rubbish is dropped and buried. In colloquial English we might say, a dump. Do you ever take your rubbish to the dump, Dan?
Not if I can help it. I prefer to recycle as much as possible. I only go to the dump if I have to get rid of a large appliance, such as a fridge. Then we had a household name. To be a household name is to be well-known by ordinary people of a particular place or culture. Can you think of a person who is a household name at the moment, Neil?
Oh, that’s very easy. Donald Trump springs to mind! Everyone must know who he is. Then we had infrastructure. Infrastructure is the basic systems and services of a society – such as electricity supply, trains, and roads.
And finally we had abundance. If you have an abundance of something, you have more than you need. Do have anything in abundance, Neil?
Well, when it comes to my children I have to have an abundance of patience….well, most of the time. And, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English. Please join us again soon!
And we are on social media too - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. See you there.
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Episode 150430 / 30 Apr 2015
Many animals face extinction. But people are realising that they must act now to stop further losses. A scheme to save the Asian elephant in China could provide an answer.
Episode 150423 / 23 Apr 2015
How does music make you feel? Research shows that it actually influences us more than we realise - whether we're at the movies, the supermarket, or down the pub
Episode 150416 / 16 Apr 2015
Coffee is now the most popular drink in the world. But what about the economics and politics of coffee production? It's as complicated as getting the right flavour in your cup
Episode 150409 / 09 Apr 2015
Rob and Neil put on their sunglasses to find out more about this special star and teach some related vocabulary. We promise you won’t be blinded with science!
Episode 150402 / 02 Apr 2015
The UK has become the first country to approve legislation allowing the creation of babies with genetic material from three people. Listen to Neil and Harry’s conversation and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150326 / 26 Mar 2015
What are some art galleries banning to protect their paintings? Find out with Neil and Harry
Episode 150319 / 19 Mar 2015
An electronic device under your skin?! Workers in Sweden take part in experiment which allows them to get in and out of their office without a key, ID or password. Listen to Neil and Harry’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150312 / 12 Mar 2015
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. He is known throughout the world for his role in defeating Nazi Germany but he also made mistakes. Listen to Neil and Mike’s discussion, and learn new vocabulary.
Episode 150305 / 05 Mar 2015
We live in a richer world. But the gap between rich and poor is still very wide in individual countries. How to change this? Listen to Rob and Harry’s discussion, and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150226 / 26 Feb 2015
The price of vaccines has escalated and some poor countries are struggling to prevent children from catching certain life-threatening diseases, says Medecins Sans Frontieres. Listen to Rob and Neil’s discussion, and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150219 / 19 Feb 2015
Will thinking computers be the end of humans? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150212 / 12 Feb 2015
About 37,000 tourists are expected to visit Antarctica this season. But should they be going to a region with such a sensitive environment? Listen to Rob and Neil’s conversation and learn some new vocabulary.
Episode 150205 / 05 Feb 2015
At a time when more people compete for fewer jobs, are you sure you present your skills and abilities well to a potential employer? Listen to Rob and Neil's conversation and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150129 / 29 Jan 2015
Going to a party where you don't know anyone? Listen to Rob and Neil's advice and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150122 / 22 Jan 2015
We use computers for everything nowadays. Are we forgetting our own abilities - and losing our talent? Listen to Rob and Neil's discussion, and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150115 / 15 Jan 2015
Smoking in cars with children might be banned in England. Listen to Neil and Rob's chat and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150108 / 08 Jan 2015
Is bullying just an attempt to give a bad name to what is part of human nature? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150101 / 01 Jan 2015
What would you put in your time capsule? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141225 / 25 Dec 2014
When enemy soldiers sang together in WW1. Listen to Rob and Finn’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 141218 / 18 Dec 2014
The London school where students speak 42 different languages
Episode 141211 / 11 Dec 2014
Laughter isn't always the best medicine, says research
Episode 141204 / 04 Dec 2014
Are your pictures, documents and videos safe online? Listen to Rob and Finn's chat and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141127 / 27 Nov 2014
Nowhere to park? How the sharing economy is changing the way we use our space
Episode 141120 / 20 Nov 2014
How can science fiction help the world? Rob and Finn discuss a project which aims to inspire through stories of a bright future
Episode 141113 / 13 Nov 2014
Why is eating meat bad news?
Episode 141106 / 06 Nov 2014
Do real-life superheroes exist or are they just cartoon characters?
Episode 141030 / 30 Oct 2014
Rob and Finn discuss the World Health Organisation's recommendations on e-cigarettes
Episode 141023 / 23 Oct 2014
Should we eat less sugar? Listen to Rob and Neil and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141016 / 16 Oct 2014
Is learning English getting easier? Find out what's new
Episode 141009 / 09 Oct 2014
Why do we buy so much food and not eat it all? Learn more about food waste
Episode 141002 / 02 Oct 2014
Is it right to sleep at work? Rob and Finn discuss the benefits of sleeping on the job.
Episode 140929 / 29 Sep 2014
Is the way we see famous people a new thing? Learn about the first 'modern celebrity'.
Episode 140821 / 21 Aug 2014
Bored? You're not alone. Rob and Finn discuss how to deal with boredom and teach some related vocabulary. We promise you won't be bored!