Absolutely! Pigs were originally domesticated by people because they are so good at eating our leftovers – clearing up our waste, while converting it into valuable food (e.g. pork and bacon) and manure to keep our soil fertile.
In the late 19th century, using food waste for pig feed declined because large volumes of cheap grain were available from the Americas. However, in times of scarcity, such as during the two World Wars, people went back to the thrifty practice of feeding pigs leftovers. During the Second World War, the stables in Hyde Park were turned into a piggery, tended by the police, and swill buckets were positioned on street corners and outside factories, hospitals and canteens.
Right up to the end of the 1990s, a ‘pig bin’ was a familiar sight in schools and canteens – particularly in rural areas – collecting leftover food to feed to pigs. This was welcomed by farmers as a way to keep down their costs, and caterers who avoided the costs of disposing of the food waste – as well as by pigs as the source of a delicious meal!
For more information on the history of feeding food waste to pigs check out our History of Food Waste & Pigs timeline.