Thursday, 21 January 2016

Combatting Food Waste

A third of all food that's produced in the world is thrown away. And most of it isn't inedible! 

This is an issue I've been aware of for a long time, but I was very impressed by this article I read today in The Ecologist, which explores how the fact that most of us are in such a rush these days contributes to increasing food waste. The article focuses on a large supermarket with lots of customers and rushed staff, where there are a high number of incidents in which food gets misplaced or damaged meaning it has to be trhown away. The author then goes on to compare this with a small ethically run supermarket. At the end there are notes on a small selection of projects offering creative solutions to the extent of food waste. It's a very thought provoking article. 

We're lucky to live on good bus routes to the ethical food shops in Edinburgh and we have a small supermarket across the road for when we need things in a hurry. So we don't need to stock up on fruit and vegetables so we rarely waste food. Edinburgh recently brought in food recycling bins, so that waste such as vegetable peels and apple cores are composted - the system isn't perfect (as was particularly brought home to me on the recent occasion when I saw a huge lorry with 'composing Edinburgh's food waste' emblazoned on its side trundling down a main road, goodness knows how far our food has to go to get recycled!) but it's a great start for those of us who don't have gardens where we can build compost piles of our own. 

But most food waste isn't the result of people forgetting about fruit and beg in their own homes (though that isn't insignificant) it's about a system that means that fruit and vegetables that don't pass a 'beauty contest' are rejected by most retailers, where more produce is brought into the shop than can get sold and where loads of food gets wasted in the journey from field to warehouse to distribution centre to retail outlet). 

Friends of the Earth UK are currently asking people to contact their MP to demand an end to food waste. You can find out more here.  

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.





Lowcarb team member said...

Yes I agree ... there is too much waste.

Talking about odd shaped vegetables, many supermarkets do sell these cheaper ... well worth keeping eyes open for bargains.

All the best Jan

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

The practice of two for ones, and selling fresh food in amounts a single person can't use before they spoil, is a problem as well.

Dartford Warbler said...

We don`t often throw food away, but if we do then it`s onto the bird table (if it`s suitable) or onto the compost heap, so somebody eats it if we don`t.

My grumble is that it`s so difficult to buy some kinds of food without it coming in some sort of plastic wrapper or package.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Lowcarb - and some supermarkets sell veg off cheap at the end of the day too, always worth looking for things like that

Simon - yes, BOGOF on perishables is a bad idea I think

Dartford Warbler - I hate all the packaging too, though generally manage to buy my veg loose

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Juliet,

Great post and thanks for sharing.
I have found with the Nutri bullet is a good way of using up fruit that is a little on the ripe side. Try to always use up the fruit and vegetables we buy and never throw out food.
Happy Friday

Geraldine said...

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart.

I LOATHE wasting food and it is truly shocking how much edible food is actually wasted or composted. I think the larger stores at least should have someone to go through produce etc, and send it along to food banks while still ok to eat, if it is not absolutely perfect for sales purposes. If they had a disclaimer for those receiving the food, to sign, that would probably take care of any legal risks. I have been told that is a concern they have about this.

I waste very little food but at times it is challenging to make sure we are eating the foods on hand quickly enough, before any spoilage happens. We eat a lot of organic veggies, not a lot of packaged goods. But not impossible, that's for sure. And so worthwhile.

Everyone can make an effort with this. It's a green step that is like so many others: small steps x millions of people = significant results.

Great post Juliet and such an important topic and reminder!

PS: Thanks for the heads-up re: your etsy earrings. They are so pretty but a little smaller than what I wanted, I will keep checking back though. And yes, adding lengths is so helpful. I visit a lot of etsy shops and the more info. about a product, the better. :-)

A Cuban In London said...

I'm with you. I hate food waste.

Greetings from London.