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The Financial Express

The finer side to wastage

| Updated: October 25, 2017 01:39:20


The finer side to wastage


London's Jermyn Street is as unostentatious as any other, at least at first sight. Once the unsuspecting traveller saunters into the tailor shops or peeps into the restaurants first appearances die hard. For this is where fine clothing and fine dining finds definition. And as anything 'fine' goes, they come at a price. Soft, succulent but decidedly thin Asparagus served as appetisers with a mayonnaise sauce melt in the mouth and barely scrapes the stomach lining. A Salmon or Mackarel is tastefully presented but touching the accompanying garnishing isn't done. As in most cases three fourth of fine dining is a waste even though there would be grateful ones elsewhere across seas and continents to have access to this. In the age of cutting corners this might change, just a little.
The Accor Group of hotels has announced that they would be slicing their menu items down from 50 to around twenty items. Fine dining places can never say they are short of something on the menu and must be ready for customers to choose even slow-moving items. The result is wastage in that ingredient wise everything is at hand but if not consumed they go to the bin. That means waste. The group has also announced that it would weigh the items that are binned with a goal of reducing waste by a third as well as growing vegetables on their own premises, 1500 or so of them. So there is a likelihood that Accor rooms with a few may have a cabbage patch in the not to distant future.
For all the skimpiness of economies the world over, wastage continues unabated. Bangladesh is no exception. Lavish weddings, prayer meets, conferences and seminars are incomplete without the essential element of food. Orders are usually over-estimated (it wouldn't do to run short) so that at the end, people either carry home more than what they are due or the food is disposed of. There are some who have taken ostentation out from religious prayers and meets channeling them instead, to masjids where inexpensive snacks are appreciated.
Wastage extends beyond food and become more obvious when special occasions come up or projects under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) are scuttled. There is a view that some of these projects are more of adornment than necessity and it flows naturally that they are nice-to-have wasteful expenditure. The guest control process doesn't work and just outdated. Religious scripture advising that plates should be clean of food, pales when one sees the huge piles in front of individuals that end up half-eaten. Yet everyone is so careful with the home kitchen productivity.
Process loss is a coinage to camouflage pilferage and wastage in utilities but that which causes big dents in pockets is reclassified as 'speed money', not process loss for the individual. The sight of the young ladies selling their wares on the streets, tucking in to their simple meals may raise questions about hygiene and all the finer matters. At least in terms of wastage, every last grain is thankfully consumed. It's a long way from Jermyn Street but morally a bigger win.
(The writer may be reached at [email protected])

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