Yesterday’s press on the vast amount of food wasted in the UK from supermarkets and our overbuying due to BOGOFs /poor management has left me wondering how we got to this stage.
As a child of the 1950s growing up as rationing finished and with parents who has been Depression children; food waste was not something I was used to. My mum’s family had to rely on the Salvation Army to help out in 1920s Salford. My dad was a country boy brought up on the plain cooking my grandma had learned in service with home grown vegetables and basic proteins supplemented by the rabbits granddad’s ferrets caught. Those habits were ingrained in me- clear the plate and use up left overs or suffer dad’s wrath. I can even remember being made to sit all lunch hour over the chocolate pudiding and custard served in infant school the smell of which made me heave and I never gave in and ate it!
Turn the clock on 40 years its the 1990s and I am Teaching food Technology in an outer London suburb. We begin to notice the children leaving behind all sorts of ingredients they have not used with words like ‘ my mum says she does not want it’ . By the time I retired in 2011 my catering fridge always had a stock of cheese, butter, eggs, half packs of meat (which we would freeze for another day) also sorts of vegetables and a cupboard full of flour, rice pasta, cans, herbs and spices all left behind without so much as a thought as to how much this all cost. Rarely was anything thrown away- students who had forgotten ingredients could be helped out and the budget for staff demonstrations was reduced.
Since moving to Seaford I no longer have a massive fridge so have to think even more carefully about how much I buy as storage is a problem. Gone are the big packs of veggies and wide variety I was used to. Local shopping facilities limit me to be far more creative in what I buy and cook. The council collect food waste weekly so I have decided to monitor what we do throw away apart from peelings (as the compost heaps are about to be moved and cannot be used at present) and ways I use up food nearing the end of its life.
So this is my last week’s food waste- fits into the small bin nicely- and transfers to the Council bin about 2 inches thick- all fruit and vegetable peelings plus teabags. There is one small mouldy green pepper in there from a large pack I have to keep in the pantry now no room in fridge.
So who else is going to monitor their food waste this week?
- Tesco tries to head off scandal of wasted food (thetimes.co.uk)
- 21 Frightening Food Waste Facts [Infographic] (eatdrinkbetter.com)
- Food Loss and Waste (UNEP) (cardinalenvironment.wordpress.com)
- Tips on reducing food waste in your home (itv.com)
- How do Tesco’s food waste figures compare internationally? (newstatesman.com)
- Two-thirds of Tesco salad ‘wasted’ (bbc.co.uk)