So this is a post about something I have read a lot about lately and really feel passionately for, and that is food waste. I feel as a privileged person surrounded by many privileged people that much of the world has become complacent about food consumption and just how much we waste.
Every year one third of the food produced for human consumption (that’s 1.3 billion tonnes) gets lost or wasted, living in the UK it genuinely shocked me that out of the 21.7 million tonnes of purchased food, 7 million of it is just thrown away. This is while 1 in 9 people (795 million) do not have enough food to lead a healthy or balanced lifestyle.
We are living in a world where people buy more than what they need or want and have no problem with throwing it away if it is past its sell by date by a day or they cooked too much for dinner, while in many disadvantaged areas, people would kill to eat what was in our bins. And what is in our waste is more than edible, as 61% of that food we could have prevented being thrown away, a further 20% was only chucked due to consumption habits such as having the crusts on your sandwich removed. This waste not only denies those in need from receiving it, but also contributes significantly to the worlds water footprint, landfill sites and also your own wallet as wasting food is wasting money!
But this is not a doom and gloom message, as I wish to highlight some amazing projects and companies who are challenging food waste in any way they can, which I hope inspires you to do the same.
The French have been the leading pioneers for preventing food wastage, much like they have with banning underweight models, as they recently became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. This caused a huge increase in donations of food to charities and food banks. This increase has a significant impact as even a small 15% increase in donations, 10 million more meals could be handed out each year.
Much like the French, this month Tesco announced that they too will be sending their unsold and unwanted food to charities across the UK after their trial period last year.
In addition to this, 200 stores will now also stock ‘imperfect’ veg, which would normally be rejected, at half its regular price in attempt to encourage buyers and reduce waste. Asda also introduced something similar previous to Tesco offering a 5kg box of seasonal ‘wonky veg’ to customers for around £3.50, over a third cheaper than standard lines.
Pret Charity Run
Pret the well established food and coffee shop have also contributed by partnering charities across the UK with their local store allowing them to collect unsold food from the shops at the end of the day to distribute to those in need.
For more information – https://www.pret.co.uk/en-gb/pret-charity-run
Real Junk Food Project
This is a project I have become in awe and inspired by over the last year when I first discovered it and they continue to grow. Founded by Adam Smith, the Real Junk Food Project was set up as ‘pay as you feel café. This café cook delicious, hearty meals and desserts using only intercepted food from supermarket bins, allotments, food banks and town markets. Anyone can come in and enjoy a sit down meal and afterwards pay in whatever way they wish to, be that helping around the shop by cleaning, preparing food, fixing things such as the electrics or simply cash for what they think the food is worth. Set up first in Leeds the Junk Food Project ethos has started to spread across the UK and the world and in their first year alone 10,000 people were fed with an intercepted 23 tonnes of food waste.
Check their website and their Facebook page for more information – http://therealjunkfoodproject.org/about/
All of these initiatives are incredible leaps forward in preventing food waste to help our climate, society and our pockets. But we can do much at an individual level too:
- Make sure you only buy what you need, and not what you think you need – make a meal plan and stick to it.
- Don’t trust sell by dates, trust your judgment. If it smells, looks and tastes ok, it is good of a little while longer.
- Made too much for dinner? Tub it up and have it for lunch or dinner the next day.
- Don’t think you are going to eat all of something before it goes off? Freeze the rest and it will be good to use another time over the next few months.
Here is where I got a lot of my facts and stats from; they also give a lot of tips about saving waste so have a look if you want to do more:
And if you are still interested there are also so many amazing documentaries such as ‘The Cowspiracy’ on Netflix or “Just Eat It’ http://www.foodwastemovie.com to help you become more aware of the world we live in.
Thank you for reading if you go this far.
Much Love x