You are what you don’t eat

If asked to think about food preservation for a moment you might picture an aproned woman boiling oranges for marmalade in a large copper maslin pan; or vegetable scraps being turned into stock; or those recipes from wartime rationing using root veg in place of sugar; or even, with an eye to the modern, you might imagine a trendy chef preparing offal in a gleaming chrome kitchen to ensure the nose-to-tail credentials of his restaurant. Some of the attempts in the past to spin out the life of fresh produce sound positively disgusting But there is more to the history of preservation than preserves, and the obvious enemy, when we

Letters: We can’t build our way out of the housing crisis

Excess demand Sir: Liam Halligan (‘The house mafia’, 26 June) treats us to an exposé of the shoddy products of the mass housebuilders. In the course of his article, however, he accepts as given that the solution to the housing crisis is to build more houses. The problem, however, is not one of deficient supply; it is a problem of excess demand, driven by ultra-low interest rates, kept so low for so long that the result has been an out-of-control housing boom. The young are being prevented from buying a house, not because housebuilders hoard land and refuse to build, but because buyers with access to eye-watering amounts of borrowed

The fraudulent business of recycling

I am a litter picker. No, not one of those high-minded volunteers who have proliferated of late with litter-picking sticks and black bags, but a professional: I am paid to empty the bins and collect the debris left by the public in a small park in Middle England. And I’m angry, not with the great British public who leave the stuff but with the real litter louts who are the root cause of the problem. As summer approaches and people who have been stuck indoors crowd into the beauty spots and on to the beaches, litter becomes a hot topic and it is important to be clear where the blame

What Greenpeace’s ‘Wasteminster’ stunt won’t tell you

Greenpeace has been responsible for many a fatuous stunt over the years, but its latest video has a point. It shows an animated Boris Johnson making a speech outside 10 Downing Street, boasting about his government’s environmental achievements, like banning plastic straws. Meanwhile, plastic waste starts to rain out of the sky, engulfing the Prime Minister as well as all of Downing Street, the Cabinet Office and much of the Foreign Office, too. This immense pile, we are told, is the quantity of plastic waste which we are dumping daily on developing countries. I’ll take Greenpeace’s word for it that the size of the pile is accurate. But whether our

One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure

All it takes to turn a cast-off into a prized possession can be a bit of imagination. To a passerby, a bookcase left on the pavement might be perfect for that impossible-to-furnish alcove. An empty bottle, once the waves have worn it smooth, could become a precious jewel for a beachcomber. In an instant a bored child will fish a piece of cardboard from the bin and transform it into a rocket, raft or portal to another dimension. One man’s rubbish, as we know, is another man’s treasure. The subject is explored in Rag and Bone by the photographer Lisa Woollett, who has a personal connection with discards. Her grandfather

Barometer: Is climate change making the weather more windy?

Heathrow’s nine runways When was a third runway for Heathrow first proposed? Heathrow was always planned to have multiple runways. On 10 April 1946, before the airport was even open, the Minister for Civil Aviation, Lord Winster, announced that the then London Airport was to have nine runways. Six would be in a Star of David pattern on the present site of Heathrow; the other three would form a triangle to the north of Bath Road, where the current proposal for a third runway is based. This was supposed to allow 160 aircraft movements per hour in good weather and 120 in bad weather. When Winster made his speech, three

Laura Freeman

Eco-friendly is not female-friendly

Forgive me, Greta, for I have sinned. It has been five days since my last Waitrose order. I meant to be good and green. To go from Whole Foods to farmers’ market with my canvas bag and eco-conscience. But it was cold and dark and the boys from the supermarket come right to the door. So I filled the bin with plastic wrappers and turtle-trappers and laid waste to my good intentions. I try, I really do. I wash every yoghurt pot, rinse every tin. I carry a KeepCup, a water flask, a folded tote. I trudge to the Edgware Road with empty bottles for shampoo, conditioner and laundry soap