July 23, 2015

It's time we do something about all that waste

Let's stop the waste, shall we?

Those of you who know me well that one of my pet peeves is food waste. I don't like waste in general, but I especially have a problem with food waste. We throw away tremendous amounts of food in the world.

Food waste is bad in so many ways, and I can talk about it for hours. 

However, to me it's just not about throwing away food, it's also about using food inefficiently, or not taking care of bits and pieces that are good except we don't know about it. 

The leaves on radishes are one example. Radishes often come with the green still attached to them, and like most, I used to cut these leaves off and throw them away - until  I learnt from a Persian woman that the leaves are delicious*. 

I am happy to see that the world is starting to open their eyes to this. John Oliver talked about Food Waste on Late Night recently - and he is a master when it comes to illustrating a problem. Yes, he jokes about it, and I am not saying his language always is suitable for every viewer, but he reads up on what he talks about.

A summary for those of you who are too busy to watch:

  • We overproduce food, which is very bad for the environment.
  • We throw away food that shouldn't be thrown away - bad for our environment.
  • Have "beauty requirements" for our food which makes us throw away perfectly good food - bad for the environment.
  • A lot of food never even makes it to the market - because it isn't pretty enough. Bad for the environment
  • Food left to rot produces greenhouse gases - bad for the environment
  • We waste so much food that it's like buying four bags of food and throwing away one of them. Bad for the environment.

According to this video, 40% of the food produced in US is thrown away. I have heard numbers as high as up to 50%, but it all comes down to how you measure, what food you are looking at, if you look at what actually reaches the markets and supermarkets or if you look at the total produced, and much more. 40% is bad enough, or around 25% of the food we buy, we never eat. Not very good for the wallet - and terrible for the environment.

wrote about it before, in a post on Sustainable Eating and Cooking. And I am convinced I'll write about it again. The more I learn, the more it bugs me. 

* I should have known about the radish leaves, because the dears love them - but it never occurred to me that we could eat them. Now I know better; I rinse them and use in salads, they have a nice, peppery flavour. 

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