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BBC 6 minute English-How much food do you waste

BBC 6 minute English-How much food do you waste

BBC 6 minute English-How much food do you waste


Transcript of the podcast

Note: This is not a word for word transcript

Dan: 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

Neil: And I’m Neil. In this episode we’ll be discussing food waste, just as soon as

Dan: Neil, did you just throw the rest of that apple away

Neil: Yeah. It was quite a big one and I couldn’t finish it

Dan: Neil, you know you shouldn’t waste food

Neil: Waste meaning to throw away without consuming or using. Ah, it’s only an apple. It’s not the end of the world, Dan

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

Neil: I’m not sure. I know it’s a lot so I’m going to say a) a half

Dan: 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

Neil: Well, restaurants, I imagine. I mean, they can’t give one customer’s leftovers to another! That would be unhygienic

Dan: 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

Neil: 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

Dan: Think closer to home

Neil: It’s us, isn’t it

Dan: 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

Neil: I want to say recycle, but I can see from your face, Dan, that it’s not

Dan: No. Unfortunately it goes into landfills and decays

Neil: 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

Dan: 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%

Neil: That’s impressive, how did that happen

Dan: They attribute it to a woman called Selina Juul

Neil: I’ve heard about her. She became a household name in Denmark overnight

Dan: A household name is one which everybody knows, and that’s right

Neil: I thought she was Russian

Dan: She is. But, I’ll let her explain

INSERT Selina Juul

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

Neil: 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

Dan: Then when she moved to Denmark, she found an abundance, or more than enough, food, but she saw it being wasted

Neil: So she decided to do something about it

Dan: 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

Neil: How did she do it

Dan: 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

Neil: Wow, she’s a busy woman. So how about you educate me with the answer to this week’s question

Dan: Sure! I asked you how much of the world’s food is wasted each year

a) a half

b) a third

c) a quarter

Neil: And I said a) a half

Dan: And I’m terribly sorry, mate, but you’re wrong. The answer is b) a third

Neil: Well, it’s not as bad as I thought it was, at least

Dan: Shall we look at the vocabulary then

Neil: 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

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

Neil: Oh I love leftovers! Sometimes I think they taste even better than the original meal

Dan: I agree! Pizza’s a great example

Neil: 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

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

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

Dan: And finally we had abundance. If you have an abundance of something, you have more than you need. Do have anything in abundance, Neil

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

Dan: And we are on social media too – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. See you there

Both: Bye

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