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Prevent Food Waste

Updated on June 19, 2015
Source

Waste not want not - especially food

I've always hated seeing any sort of waste. This is probably because my parents were brought up during the Second World War and at that time, avoiding waste was a big issue and making the most of every scrap of meat, vegetables and fish was very important to the war effort.

A report that was recently released has revealed that between thirty and fifty percent of the consumer edibles produced globally is wasted.Can you imagine?

Up to half the goods manufactured or grown for human consumption produced in the world is simply thrown away. How on earth can this be?

Some of the problems occur in developing countries where distribution and storage is a problem. But in the western world we contribute hugely to the problem too. Much of this is caused by regulations that demand that the goods we see at the grocery store are up to certain standards.

The report also blames supermarket sales promotions - such as 'buy one get one free' - because they encourage consumers to buy more products than they need.But we can't lay the blame on others - the report says that up to half the groceries bought by consumers in Europe and the USA is thrown away.

Images © Wikipedia Commons.

Don't waste it

Source

During wartime, governments ran huge campaigns to encourage the population to fight every type of waste. This wasn't just during WW2, there were extensive campaigns in the First World War too.That's a hundred years ago. Why are we still wasting so much today?

Here's a crazy scenario:

  • Visiting Martian: I see that many people on your planet don't have enough to eat and that people are dying of starvation.
  • Earthling: Sadly, this is true. We try to help though. We give money to charity and ... well ... you know ...
  • Visiting Martian: And I see further that in what you earthlings call the Western World, half the produce you buy for your home consumption is thrown away.
  • Earthling: Well, no. I mean, surely not? That would be ridiculous ...
  • Visiting Martian: Quite.
  • Earthling: That would be crazy ... you see ...
  • Visiting Martian: Crazy yes. Thank you for letting me interview you for my report. I now know how to classify Planet Earth.
  • Earthing: You're welcome, I'm always willing to have a chat with passing Martians. But ...
  • Visiting Martian: (Speaks into Martian cell phone) Xseta my dear, are you there? Please mark Planet Earth as uncivilized and please put dinner on, I'll be back shortly.

Source

Here's another scenario. Imagine that you're in line at the grocery store. The man in front of you pays for his purchases - about $100.

As you watch, he takes a hundred dollar bill from his wallet and a lighter from his pocket. As you watch, he sets light to the hundred dollar bill and you watch appalled as it turns to ashes.

Everyone around you stops what they are doing and watches the man burning his money. The grocery store girl quickly calls for a supervisor. "Please come to resister number three - there's a man burning money, a crazy man..."

But is he crazy? You see, that's what we're doing every time we shop for our meals and cooking ingredients - wasting as much money as we spend.And it's not just money.

The experts who created the recent report are concerned about the enormous amount of water that was wasted irrigating crops that would end up as garbage. Think too about the fuel and the resources used in getting those items to the supermarket. Half of that was completely wasted.

Think about the emissions created, the packaging required, the man-hours spent ... yes, I think the Martian was right, don't you?

What to do about this problem

Source

Nobody really this needs advice on how to prevent waste. We all know that we should store perishables correctly, make the best use of leftovers, shop wisely and all those good things.

But I believe that part of our problem is that we're often not really aware of the things we're wasting.This is why I have decided to keep a waste journal for the next few weeks.

Every time I throw something away, I'm going to make a note of it. Then, I'll look at my list and ask myself:

  • Why did I need to throw that away?
  • Why didn't I use that up?
  • What could I have done to prevent throwing this away?
  • Did I buy too much of this?

I hope that this experiment will work and make me more aware of the purchases I've made that I'm wasting.I might have a strange sort of logic but I'm thinking about that fictitious man burning a hundred dollar bill in the supermarket.

If we throw away half the edible goods we buy, doesn't that mean that by avoiding wasting it we can cut our grocery bill in half?

Further information

Learn more about storage and avoiding waste. It might be the age of the internet but there's nothing like good advice from specialist books.

This problem is harmful to the entire planet. Read more about this important subject.

They had the right idea in wartime

See this article about making do and mend.

Don't waste a single crumb!

Have your say

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    • profile image

      SteveKaye 

      4 years ago

      We have almost no food waste thanks to careful shopping, cooking, and eating. It's possible. And it's important.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Erin Mellor: Haha Erin - I think we have the same 'mad English' reputation. I've sneaked in a mango tree too but since it's only a baby - grown from a pip - I probably won't be around when it bears fruit :)

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      5 years ago from Europe

      @BritFlorida: That's such a shame. I helped create a little guerrilla garden at an apartment block in the Detroit suburbs, with just tomatoes and a few herbs. I think the only reason we got away with it was that we were English and therefore clearly insane. We invited everyone to help themselves to the produce - I think that was a step too far, creating a socialist garden under the air conditioning outlet.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: Haha - was it the Martian? I hope so :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I just peed my pants laughing!!!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @orange3 lm: It's really a shame that more people don't have the facility to do that. I'm thinking about people who don't have gardens such as people who live in apartments. I had to have quite a battle with our condo board just to have herbs growing in pots outside my back door. They like nice 'manicured' gardens and would be horrified at the thought of compost. I would love to have an urban garden here but I know that the idea would be immediately denied.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @orange3 lm: That's perfect :)

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 

      5 years ago

      I try to compost all of our food waste. It may be wasted in the kitchen, but reused in the garden :)

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @shellys-space: I didn't know that - that's not good at all and it makes no sense. What a crazy waste of food.

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 

      5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      One thing that really bugs me in the "Public Schools" is that children can not share food they do not want to eat. Not even the unopened milk! Guess where most of the unwanted food ends up? The garbage can. Bummer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Growing up we could never leave the table until all of our food was gone. Now I am compulsive about cleaning my plate. I just save my kids food for the next meal though :)

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @AdriatiX: Good for him :)It does seem crazy to throw away so much food.

    • profile image

      AdriatiX 

      5 years ago

      My dad is very picky about this theme. I'm sure he would like this article. :)

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Aibrean82: It's terrible isn't it? Especially when so many people are without enough food. I'm amazed that more isn't done about it.

    • Aibrean82 profile image

      Aibrean82 

      5 years ago

      I hate wasting food too. I had no idea we wasted about 50%! My friend's parents throw away the rest of their dinners - even food that would freeze well. I once saw them throw away half a freshly made lasagna! I once asked if I could take the leftovers home with me, and I could - but they were looking at me as though I was mad....

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @whats4dinner: Thank you so much! Yes, the amount of food wasted is such a problem today. Scary really.

    • whats4dinner profile image

      whats4dinner 

      5 years ago

      Great job with this lens. I think we all ought to start conserving food. Blessings!

    • whats4dinner profile image

      whats4dinner 

      5 years ago

      Great job with this lens. I think we all ought to start conserving food. Blessings!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: What a lovely comment - thank you!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: And yet in other parts of the world, it is so precious. Everything is so unbalanced. Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I love the topics you pick for your lenses, makes me stop and think about what's really important. Nice job!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Yes, we are a wasteful nation. When much is plentiful, it's easy to throw away. We tend to keep what is precious. So when food becomes precious, we will waste less.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @MarcellaCarlton: Thank you very much, Marcella.

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 

      5 years ago

      You have brought attention to an all to common problem. I love the photos. Good job!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Phillyfreeze: That's a wonderful idea. I hope that other areas copy it and do the same.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 

      5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      In my community we have Dare to Care food program that partners with local restaurants that donate food which is re-distributed to local shelters on a daily basis.

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