Valentin Thurn (DE) Taste the Waste

documetary film, 2011

On the way from the farm to the dining-room table, more than half of the food lands in the dump. Most of it before it ever reaches consumers. For instance, every other head of lettuce or potato. Discover what awaits you when you venture a look into dumpsters: behind your local supermarket and, if you can summon up enough courage, in the trash cans outside your own door. We’re not talking about chicken bones and potato peels here. The topic at hand is the perfectly edible food, some of which is still in its original packaging and frequently enough not even the “best before“ date has expired. Around 100 kilograms per household every year. Even more, about twice as much, is “rejected” on fields, in factories mand at retailers.

Why are ever greater quantities being destroyed? We seek explanations: from supermarket sales staff and managers, bakers, wholesale market inspectors, welfare recipients, ministers, farmers and EU bureaucrats. It’s a system that we all take part in. Supermarkets constantly have the complete selection of merchandise on offer, the bread on the shelves has to be fresh until late in the evening, strawberries are in demand at any time of the year. And everything has to look just right: one withered leaf of lettuce, a crack in a potato or a dent in an apple and the goods are sorted out; containers of yogurt as early as two days before the “best before“ date has expired.

We visited a variety of people who want to stop this incredible waste by working
together on a goal that offers a major opportunity: if we were to save merely half of the avoidable garbage, that would have the same effect on the world climate as if we took every other car off our roads.

Valentin Thurn (DE)

Valentin Thurn is a director of documentaries for German and international TV channels. Awarded with various national and international journalism and film awards such as Prix Leonardo, Green Vision and Oekomedia. The documentary about Zacarias Moussaoui (I Am Al Qaeda) has been nominated for the German TV Award in 2006. Other films include: Not with my daughter! about female genital circumcision in Europe, Killer Germs about bacteria resistant to antibiotics spreading in hospitals, Where Have All The Children Gone? on why Europe’s population is shrinking, The Lord Of The Wolves about a biologist investigating the hidden life of a wolf pack in Romania, My Father Wants To Kill Me about the so-called honour killings in migrant families in Germany and France. Co-Founder of the International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ). Based in Cologne, Germany.