By now you’ve probably heard about the ABC’s new documentary series War On Waste. In it, Craig Reucassel (who you might know as that guy from The Chaser) sets out to tackle the, quite frankly, ridiculous amount of food waste produced in our country.
In this episode, we’re told that we waste 3.3 million tonnes of food a year and that ⅓ of waste in the average bin is food that’s been thrown out. That’s $3,500 worth of food thrown out a year per family.
And, ok, that’s all very serious and that dollar figure is absolutely eye-watering – but what got me most was the bananas.
Pretty much the first thing Craig does is head out to a banana farm, where he’s told that 40% of the bananas they grow never make it off the farm. You might think it’s because they’re severely deformed or infected with some kind of disease. But no – it’s because they’re too big. Or small. Or curved. Or straight.
It’s ridiculous, because there’s nothing I love more than a big ol’ banana. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life looked at a banana and thought to myself, no, that’s simply too much fruit, I’ll never be able to digest it all. #SizeDoesntMatter
I never knew bananas were being held to such a high cosmetic standard, but now that I do, I’m calling it – all bananas are obviously women.
The owner of the farm shows Craig around and tells him that those bananas are like her children, and watching them be systematically rejected, hacked into pieces and dumped on the lawn breaks her heart.
She makes Craig send the reject bananas away, and then we watch as a massive truck full of chopped up rejects are dumped on the ground to become mulch. I feel as if I’m going to cry.
To find out who is imposing these ridiculous beauty standards on bananas, Craig tries talking to the supermarkets. It takes Woolies all episode to respond, and then they’re boring. Coles ignores him completely. Don’t they realise this guy is from The Chaser? You can’t just avoid celebrity documentary makers, because they’ll just put you in the doco as an uncooperative faceless corporation.
Craig does go and talk to a guy from Harris Farm Markets, which is the only grocery store so far that seems to give a hoot about the banana massacres occurring in our own backyard. I make a solemn vow right there and then to start shopping there instead of my usual evil corporate supermarket. Then google tells me just how far away the nearest Harris Farm Markets is, and I quietly pretend that whole solemn vow business didn’t happen.
Over the course of the episode, Craig also spends a while pawing through people’s wheelie bins, spends even more time standing on top of massive piles of garbage and/or banana corpses, and goes dumpster diving, but instead of grungy hipsters in dreadlocks and tie-dye, his guide to the midnight wonders of the skip bin is an unassuming nanna. In tie-dye.
He makes too much noise, and she narrowly saves him from giving himself food poisoning by eating frozen lobster that’s been gently warming in a pile of garbage for a day or two.
Next week we’ll be watching as Craig fishes scungy plastic bags out of the sea and, I’m willing to bet, stands dramatically on another big pile of rubbish.
See the recap of Episode 2: #BanTheBag here.