CALLING all WJEC EDUQAS students who have taken the language paperWatch
WJEC EDUQAS LANGUAGE COMPONENT 2
‘WASTE NOT, WANT NOT’ The Proverb We All Forgot
In the wilds of Texas I once went to a restaurant called the Big Texan. Its name derives partly from
the size of the waiters – you have to be at least 6ft 6in to work there – and partly from the size of the
portions. The speciality of the house is a steak that weighs 72oz. That is approximately the size of
the average Sunday joint, with enough left over for at least another family meal.
Most people give up and what they leave is, of course, thrown away. The whole place is one great
temple dedicated to the worship of waste and if you ever feel the need for a swift dose of British moral
superiority, I strongly recommend a visit to the Big Texan. When it comes to waste, the Americans
are the unquestioned champions of the world.
But the British are beginning to challenge them. An official report has revealed that we waste 500,000
tons of food every year. Now that is not food that has grown mould in the back of the fridge and lurks
there threatening to take over the world; it is edible food that has merely passed its sell by date on
the supermarket shelves.
It is worth about £400 million and it costs another £50 million just to get rid of it. Here is what
happens to most of it.
When we buy our food in the supermarket we rummage around the shelves to find the product with
the latest sell by date. The stuff with the earliest dates is left on the shelf and, because the barmy
rules and regulations would have us believe that we shall die in agony if we eat a spoonful of yoghurt
30 seconds after the date on the carton, it ends up in the landfill site. It is shameful nonsense. Every
year a typical supermarket chucks out 50 tons of perfectly good food. Still feel so smug about the
That food could be used by any number of needy people, but we throw it out. Only a fraction is
handed over to charities, who are constantly begging for more. Some of us might cluck a little over
the wickedness of a world in which we waste food while Ethiopian children starve, but we get over
it. We smile at memories of our mothers telling us it’s wrong not to eat all your dinner when children
are starving in Africa. The truth is, we only care about waste in the context of money. Our attitude
seems to be, if we can afford to waste things, then why the hell shouldn’t we?
I know a woman who is reasonably well off and a keen cook, who will not use a recipe calling for egg
whites unless she can find use for the yolks at the same time. She would rather slit her wrists than
throw out perfectly good egg yolks.
But then, she is 70 and, as she says, she came to hate waste during the war years and rationing. She
thinks it is plain wrong to waste. She is right.
I am still smarting from an interview I did last year. I confessed to the interviewer that I turned off
lights when I left the room and boiled only a mug-full of water if that was all I needed. Could this
really be true? I’m afraid so, I said. Such ridicule was heaped on me in her article that I bought all the
papers in my local shop, dumped them in the recycling bin (naturally) and went into hiding. If only I
had admitted to being a serial murderer instead.
Now, if you will excuse me, I need to pop outside because a police horse has just deposited a great
pile of manure in the road in front of my house. It will do wonders for my vegetables and it would be
such a waste to leave it there to be squashed by a passing car. However, I shall cover my head with
a balaclava just in case anybody sees me with my shovel. They would think I was crazy.
A2)John Humphrys is trying to persuade us to be less wasteful. How does he try to do this ? (10)
You should comment on:
- What he says to influence readers
- His use of language and tone
- The way he presents his argument
Humphrys uses shocking statistics, “500,000 tons” to make the reader aware of the amount of food being wasted each year and persuade them to change He goes on to say “it is edible food” which is intended to make the reader feel guilty as it is worth “£400 million “ and costs “£50 million to get rid of it”. The writer repeatedly uses these figures to capture the reader’s attention as wasting money would make the reader feel more responsible compared to the food “that ends up in the landfill site” Humphrys describes how “Ethiopian children starve” suggesting how desperate people are for some of the privileges we have “but we get over it”. The verb “starve” implies how close the children are from dying and the stark contrast with the noun ”children” connotes the idea of innocence and purity yet we are punishing them because “why the hell shouldn’t we?”. The violent imagery of the woman who would rather “slit her wrist “ than to waste food could be juxtaposed with the idea of how we refuse to eat “yoghurt 30 seconds after the date on the carton” this influences the reader to be less wasteful. He then goes on to say how the woman hated to waste “during the war years and rationing” this suggests that if the she was able to not waste food at a time of need then how could we afford to.