By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil discards almost 37 million tonnes of organic waste per year, mostly food leftovers. This is nearly 50 percent of all the garbage collected in the country.
In a family of three, this amount comes close to 130 kilos.
“This is not something that is done with pleasure or with ease, we are taught not to waste food, but there are structural issues which cause us to often waste without realizing we’re doing it,” said researcher Carlos Eduardo Lourenço, professor of the Department of Marketing at FGV.
The monthly shopping – a habit for 61 percent of families surveyed – is likely to generate impulsive buying behavior which results in consumers taking more than they need. The search for abundance appears to be essential for 52 percent of respondents.
Church volunteers collect potatoes, onions, and vegetables. They set aside what can still be used and distribute it freely in the extreme south of São Paulo’s capital.
Maria da Conceição Romualdo, 75, a pensioner in search of food for her four grandchildren and three unemployed children, is outraged. “It is a sin to throw food away while so many people are starving and in need. There are days when you don’t even have rice to feed your kids, and they’re throwing it away? This is not garbage; this is food.” she said.