10 FLOORING FOOD WASTE FACTS

From an interesting UK site called ‘This is Rubbish’ (TiR) ….  TiR is a voluntary group started in 2009 that: 

“aims to communicate the preventable scale of food wasted in the UK, through policy research, community and arts led public events.”

They have compiled some fascinating facts and figures. Did you know for instance, that:

1. “It’s estimated that 30 – 50% of food is waste globally. 1

2. 18 – 20 million tones of food is wasted annually in the UK. 2

3. Assuming that in the UK and US 25% of food is wasted, 10% of GHG emissions from these countries come from food that is discarded. 3 ”  

(Note: follow links to article for references cited).

I’ve noticed many food outlets will donate their unsold food at the end of the day to charities who quickly pass them on to those folks they know are in need. I recall during the ’90s collecting weekly a car boot load of bread from a local supermarket for that purpose. Another area I lived in (NZ’s beautiful Bay of Plenty) local growers left two large bins of ‘seconds’ from their Kiwifruit harvests free for the taking, which ended up in homes or as stock feed. Brilliant. Then there are the folks I’ve seen recently on FB who have swap stands or free stands near their gardens to dispose of surplus and feed people who are struggling financially … equally as brilliant. If you have a fruit tree that produces more than you can use, consider placing boxes of it at your front gate for passers by to take. Sharing is caring. Your generosity will return to you. I assure you.

April 2015 014

Then closer to home, was my dear Dad who grew an enormous vegetable garden and gave most of it away … serving two purposes … he loved gardening and growing things … and also enjoyed the buzz he got from helping others. Not only did he give the produce away, he also made pickles, relishes, jams and preserves, much of which he also gave away. Having lived through a Depression and a World War he knew the art of survival and making the most what he had. Like many in his era, his shed was chock full of odds and ends to fix stuff with … that was the era that preceded our current ‘throw away’ society. Perhaps this is where the ‘throw-away-the-food’ mentality comes from? Seriously, the fix-it thing is what could drastically cut back the rubbish and recycling problem that is growing into magnanimous proportions … a topic for another post.

I confess I’m guilty of waste at times although I’ve cut that back and am more mindful of using leftovers creatively instead of biffing them. Did you know for instance, you can make apple cider vinegar or apple jelly from apple peels and cores? ? Or that you can make pickle or relish from water melon rinds?

I have a friend who said as a child they had a cook up of all the left overs one night a week. (Only what was edible of course). I guess this may (or may not?) go down well with the creative chefs however … in the bigger picture we who eat well on the planet are actually the minority. This alone causes me to be very thankful for the food I do have, and more mindful of the need to not waste it. And last but not least, to use what I save in all of this, to feed a hungry child elsewhere on the planet. We may one day need the same generosity ourselves. Our current political regime here in NZ is forgetting that fact. Something to think about.

 Read more about TiR’s fantastic site HERE

Read their food waste article HERE

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