Such a waste....

Why on earth do people have fruit trees and leave the fruit to rot on the ground? The school next door - our neighbours the other side - the tree at our doctors' surgery - all have apple, pear, and damson trees that crop every year but no-one collects the fruit and it's left to rot. Why not collect it and put it outside for collection, maybe for a charity donation, or give it to the local food bank? Can't stand waste!


  • scrogginscroggin Posts: 2,047

    I think a lot has to do with people expecting ' perfect' fruit n veg. For some it's too much trouble if they have to wash it before use!

    We have some old apple trees growing in a nearby wood, I think they're what remain from when it was an orchard. The apples are lovely but do have a few blemishes, other than us no one picks them.

    I always smile when I see people paying £2 a punnet for blackberries.


  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 1,702

    If a thing needs doing, though, best to do it yourself

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time
    Sir Terry Pratchett
  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,892




    I offered my neighbour some of my glut of blackberries - she declined as she had no idea what to do with them and didn't realise you could just... eat them.

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICTPosts: 10,227




    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 407

    If you feel able to Cheryl, why not bring the subject up with neighbours,school and surgery? You may find the thought hadn't even occurred to them image. One or more of them may take up the offer of someone else collecting the fruit and disposing of it rather than let it just go to waste.Always optimistic, me image 

    Last edited: 21 November 2017 15:40:01

  • Whilst looking from a simple point of view, it can appear wasteful but as Pansy points out, none of it really goes to waste as such.  

    There are plenty of fruit tree owners who are willing to give their produce away - either by leaving it outside their front door for people to help themselves or taking it to Coffee Mornings and other little local get togethers.

    What remains on the ground/in the trees serves as a welcome feast for the local wildlife.

    Far less wasteful than buying food and then dumping it because it is past some Sell By/Best Before Date IMO.

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 1,419

    Talking of food wastage , there was a program the other night (can't remember which one) stating that approximately 16 million tons (!) of food is discarded every year in the UK alone . This was a result of over-production and 'expired sell-buy dates' , as Philippa points out .

    This seems hideous in a world where some are starving ; another horrendous thought was seeing all that needless packaging ending up in landfill sites !!!image . Seems to totally negate our paltry efforts at 're-cycling'!

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 683

    We have the opposite problem!  A couple of years ago the volunteers who look after our local park planted ten fruit trees.  Some of them are already producing good crops, especially the pears, but no-one gets to enjoy any of it because it all gets picked before it's anywhere near ripe.

  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,892

    I was watching wartime farm last night  (thank you iplayer) and it occurred to me that during the war the WI formed preserving parties where they'd go full bore on the jam making / preserving and put the finished products straight into the rationing system with no personal gain.

    I wonder, if we will ever see the likes of this again. Or whether health an safety and food hygiene scare mongering will put people off from doing things like this for their local community.

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 2,020

    josusa47, pears are always picked before they ripen, they dont ripen on the tree.  I love the wartime farm, I think a lot of us on here would have been great at the digging for victory eh! I have seen various programmes about food waste, Greg Wallace "How to eat well for less" (how can a woman with one young child spend £300 a week on food!!), last night "Eat well good food".  I rarely waste any food.  Sell by and often use by dates largly ignored, have eaten yogurts,eggs, over a week past their use by, sniff, then taste, only exception is chicken.Even windfall apples are cut up frozen or made into crumbles.  Batch made a lot of tomato soup, and pasta sauce this year.Other years its been chutney,jam.  As you, say, its ridiculous when people elsewhere are starving, I used to do various donations, but believe now my money went to the corrupt governemtns, certainly not to the people I had intended! But keep hearing on the new,"we have to grow more food in this country for people".  I always try to buy british,when I can, because fruit out of season from say Africa is tasteless.

  • food banks will sometimes only accept food that is preserved (dried, canned, in jars etc.).

    In my local area we have a group that collect the spare apples and turn it into cider that is then given back to the apple donors.

    As I gave them about 1.5 tonnes of apples (it took them 3 trips in land rover to get them back to their site) i'm expecting a very merry new year - i'm expecting the first batch back mid January.

  • SuesynSuesyn Posts: 31

    I agree with NannyB about trying to buy British whenever possible but it leaves me wondering if that is too short sighted when many poorer economies depend on exporting their fruit and vegetables. Having said that I only ever buy British strawberries because imported ones have no flavour and I haven't yet managed to grow sufficient variety to crop all summer.

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 683

    May a biology graduate offer a few words of wisdom?  Old food that looks and smells OK isn't necessarily safe to eat.  There are plenty of microorganisms that alter the smell, taste and appearance of food, but you could still eat it without coming to harm, though you probably wouldn't enjoy it. Conversely, the dangerous bacteria may not affect the eating quality, and are often undetectable except by lab tests.  There's a difference between a "best before" and a "use by" date.  The first refers to eating quality, the second to safety.  Some "best before" dates are clearly daft, for instance, my supermarket sells kiwis as hard as bullets, and they don't ripen until the "best before" date is history.

    The retailers add on a margin to cover their own backs, so it may be safe to go a day or two over a "use by" date, but it's unwise to ignore them and rely on your nose, especially with meat. (Vegetarians rarely get food poisoning!) 

    Same goes for medicines. They don't remain stable for ever, and can undergo changes which, at best, make them less effective, and at worst could make them harmful.  Out of date medicines, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, should always be taken to the pharmacy for safe disposal, never put into landfill or flushed down the toilet.

    I applaud the comments about supporting poor farmers in developing countries, and a good way to do this is to buy goods with the Fairtrade logo.  If you have a bit of money to spare, think about buying some Fairtrade groceries to donate to a food bank.  That way, you benefit two lots of needy people with the same money.

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,135

    Coming from a time most food and fruit was home or local grown we were used to a vast variety of fruit tastes, out of season we got New Zealand African and Canadian fruit. The fruit was watched and as it ripened was harvested and preserved or stored. We knew how to store most fruits and vegetables to over winter, Jams, Bottling even drying and pickling, my Mother and Aunts often made it a social occasion as they made jam and bottled fruit, we would exist the winter eating stored Apples, one or two were lost but with enough spaced properly on the racks you had good edible food.

    Supermarkets educated peoples tastes to like one or two flavours of apple, a cooker a soft pinkish tasteless lady or some such and we lost the taste for a good eater. Our Local farm shop put out taster trays of Hazel Pears and a mix of local apples I think I ate most of them as people made remarks such as the skins do not look nice, they have blemishes, it is for nothing, cut the blemish off, skin the fruit. No it was the pink lady from NZ, yes you can lead people to the trough but cannot make them eat.

    I often feel like a Dinosaur, I like pastry made with lard, Liver and onion, Kidney in my pies, we ate everything that came out of any animal we killed and like other posters sell by dates are meaningless, Mother opened tins in 1945 she had put in store in 1939, I am still here. We are more likely to die from the advice from experts who over the years have been proved so wrong over most Diet fads they introduced.


  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 2,020

    When I grew up in the 50s, we didnt even have a fridge, you just have to be sensible.  The experts do reckon that the reason so many children have eczema,allergies, is because they are not exposed to enough germs bacteria.  I dont rely on my nose for meat, I dont eat it, was very shocked a few years back getting a joint of pork from the fridge, the God awful smell of it! It was well in sell by date, i googled, it said pork does have a weird smell, yuck!

  • I think one of the differences in food waste these days is that people are, on the whole, much better off and can afford to buy food which they will then ditch without a thought.  Plenty also don't have much idea of basic cooking skills ( not talking Masterchef or other similar progs which are tending towards the silly nowadays) and are therefore unable to concoct  a decent meal from "leftovers" .  

    The Use by dates are simply a guide and mostly only applicable to fresh food. Those buying meat and not using or cooking correctly are a different matter - just plain silly.  Why buy fresh food unless you know how and when you are going to use it ?  Whilst I realise not everyone has hours to spend wandering around the shops/SM's ( I don't ), a simple list and stick to it would at least be a starter.  We are all guilty of seeing something on a shelf and thinking "Ooh yes" and sticking it in the trolley but doing that on a regular basis neither helps your budget nor the food waste problem.

    I don't understand why anyone would have out of date prescribed medicines unless the person had died during medication.  Surely you either complete the course of medication or the doctor is over prescribing ?

    It's unfortunate that food banks can't really do much with fresh food as such.  At least there are "Food Guerillas" who raid the dump bins of SM's - seems they do quite wellimage

  • A few years back I worked somewhere that had a cherry tree in the courtyard and the fruit was nearly always wasted. One evening I was very surprised to come out of work and hear rustling from the tree. There were two women who had climbed into the tree and were picking the cherries. Very enterprising"

    I think a lot of food waste from supermarkets are because of "3 for £10" type offers which encourage people to buy more than they actually need at the time.

    I think that I probably have out of date prescription medicines - they will be creams and ointments which usually seem to be supplied in much larger tubes than are required.

  • I think the younger generations are far more likely to throw away food on the basis of sell by dates. Then there are those ready prepared fruit and vegetables that will go off completely in about two days and loose much of their vitamins and minerals. That really annoys me.

    Very little food gets wasted in our vegetarian household. Just odd bits little pieces of fruit and veg lost in the bottom of the fridge. That all goes on the compost heap. I was just aware of the end of rationing around the time of the coranation.  I'm having a good old  rant here. 

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 2,020

    Sometimes you get prescribed a big bo of pain meds from the Dr and you just use a few, then next time you are in pain, you get the darn things out to disocver they are a couple of years out of date.  I did a daft thing when we moved, here, looked at my glass spice jars, thought they were out of date, silly ***** I threw them away, they werent out of date, because i had re-filled them from the boxes!  My youngest 26, last week, would chuck everything out on its sell by date, YET, has half jars of sauces (which look pretty revolting!) in her fridge, I usually use half a jar, and the other goes straight into the freezer.

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