In this week’s Friday Dish: An awareness campaign gets us thinking about the amount of rubbish – including food – that we throw away.
Zero Waste Week
One of my biggest bugbears when it comes to feeding children is the amount of good food we throw away in our household – simply because the kids choose to turn their nose up at the meals I’ve lovingly prepared for them. To be fair, our food waste “mountain” isn’t entirely down to the offspring. I’m also to blame for being sucked into the BOGOFs and other special offers at the supermarket that lure me into buying far more perishable food than we can reasonably get through before it’s past its best.
So I was delighted when I found out that this week was Zero Waste Week, the mere sound of it filling me with good intentions to reduce my contribution to the landfill site.
Now in its eighth year, Zero Waste Week is predominantly an awareness campaign, encouraging people to sign up to an emailing list and pledge to reduce the amount of rubbish they chuck away. Every year has a theme and this year’s it’s ‘Reuse’ – stop wasting money by saving resources.
Although the focus of Zero Waste Week isn’t exclusively on the amount of food we throw away, it’s certainly a major contributor to the huge volumes of unnecessary waste produced in the UK every year. According to research, the average family in the UK throws out nearly 12 weeks worth of groceries every year. And globally it’s estimated that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is thrown away each year – that’s about a third of everything that is produced, including about 45% of all fruit and vegetables.
And figure this: 795 million people around the world are suffering from severe hunger and malnutrition. But if the amount of food wasted around the world were reduced by just a quarter there would be enough food to feed everyone on the planet, according to the UN. That’s certainly food for thought.
We applaud the campaign for giving us the opportunity to stop and think about our choices and inspire us to make a commitment to get good habits back in place. It offers some great ideas for reducing food waste including recipes from things that many people throw out including potato skins and bread crusts – fake bacon bits anyone?
The brains behind Zero Waste Week is Rae Strauss, who after being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, began a journey with her family to “respect and promote the importance of Earth’s fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste”. Their endeavours to reduce the amount they throw away are documented in an inspiring and wonderfully readable blog Myzerowaste.com.
The Strausses have got it down to a fine art – producing virtually no landfill rubbish at all. But reading their blog makes you realise there’s so much we can all do to make a difference. Check it out for some great advice on reducing food packaging, and beginners’ tips for cutting down your household waste. And if you’re feeling really creative, you could try to recreate the igloo the family made out of Tetrapaks. It’s absolutely brilliant!
If, like me, you find yourself getting annoyed by the unnecessary packaging on food stuff (shrink-wrapped banana, anyone?), you will be pleased to know there are several places around the UK where you can buy loose food that normally comes packaged such as dried rice, pasta, cereals and spices. Check out http://plasticisrubbish.com/tag/scoop-and-save/ for a useful list of outlets.
And don’t worry if you missed the opportunity to sign up to this year’s Zero Waste Week. It will be back next year – no doubt bigger and better. Go to www.zerowasteweek.com, sign a pledge and you’ll also receive monthly emails offering inspiration and advice.
Every Friday we share the best of the week’s food and nutrition finds in the Friday Dish: what we’ve loved, what’s inspired us and what’s revolutionised our family mealtimes. We only review products, websites, books and recipes we absolutely love and want to share with our readers; we are not paid for our reviews.