The official music video for Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” has racked up more than a billion views and counting on YouTube since being published last January.  

But what if that audience could be harnessed for social good, instead of just for dancing to a catchy pop song?

That’s precisely what this food-waste homage to Sheeran’s number-one hit aims to do.   

Take Action: Pledge to Cut Food Waste in Half

The video for “Waste Your Food” features an actor serenading his dream girl about the importance of reducing food waste.

While the parody is silly, it’s meant to bring a lighter side to an extremely serious problem affecting the entire world.

Globally, about a third of the food produced for humans – 1.3 million tons – ends up in landfills. Meanwhile, 20 million people are facing famine in Africa alone.

This discrepancy is wrong in a moral sense and a practical one. It harms the entire planet – not just those who go hungry.

Food that ends up in landfills takes years to decompose and releases methane – a greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere.   

Read More: Anthony Bourdain’s New Documentary Will Change the Way You Look at Food Waste

Aside from the entertainment value of seeing a grown man dance with oranges at a produce stand, the video highlights some of the simple ways people can be more food-efficient.

Like buying cosmetically “ugly” produce that may not look like the photoshopped versions consumers are used to seeing on packaging, but that’s still completely healthy and safe to consume.

Or planning meals ahead and only buying what you need. Ideally, any leftovers will be eaten or recycled into compost – food scraps, fruit peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells, even small amounts of paper and cardboard can be composted to enrich a garden, thus completing the great circle of produce life.  

Read More: Meet the Woman Who Led Denmark to Cut Food Waste by 25% in Five Years

Food waste that is already in a dump can be converted into electricity by harnessing the methane gas through a process called anaerobic digestion.

Another tip is to check refrigerator temperatures – too cold a temperature can make food go bad. At the same time, “USE BY” dates on supermarket foods are only there for the stores to rotate stock – they don’t necessarily mean the food has gone bad, so double check to see if something is still edible.

Ending food waste entirely possible and it’s not difficult. Enough people just have to decide to do it.

More than a billion decided to watch a YouTube video. 


Defeat Poverty

What if Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ Was About Food Waste?

By James O'Hare