Feature: Celebrating Stop Food Waste Day

Freelance food writer and recipe developer Lee Majhen-Todd discusses why eradicating food waste in our homes is so important and shares some simple tips to show how you can help.

April 29th is special for two things.

Firstly, it’s my birthday, and secondly, it’s Stop Food Waste Day. It’s the second and most important one that I want to chat about.

You may be surprised to find out that the majority of food waste doesn’t come from the places you’d suspect. Our homes are liable for much more of the global food waste taken to landfills than supermarkets or restaurants.

Food waste is something that comes up again and again with regularity in the media, and so it should. Now more than ever with COVID-19, isolation and shopping only for essential ingredients, paying attention to and reducing food waste is something I feel will help. It’s such an important subject, my personal feeling is that it should always be in our minds from planning a meal to disposing of it.

This is a paired down version of writing. To read the complete article, find lots of tips to help cut down on food waste, which foods to store and how best bits of the food to freeze and which parts of foods usually thrown into the dump are edible, lots of friendly recipes, and more besides click over to Lee & The Sweet Life at www.leeandthesweetlife.com

Just like giving up smoking, something I did many years ago, a good way of cutting down on food waste is to do it in manageable stages. As with giving up anything that’s not good for us, making it less overwhelming and taking small steps to begin a new way of looking at food is the best way to start.

That’s exactly what it means to stop wasting food, and it’s about changing the way we all live, shop, cook, think about food and passing all this onto our children, our friends and the rest of our family.

Too much? I don’t mean to sound as though I’m preaching, I don’t mean to do that, but I believe that unless we all pay attention to our food waste, and sooner rather than later, the only way is down.

While researching for this piece, I was so shocked with some of the statistics I found I had to go back and check again and again.

Do the following facts shock you too? Surprisingly, in most developing countries, 1/3 of all the food produced goes to waste.nThat is 10.7 million tonnes worth of food waste, per year. That sounded a lot to me, but I needed to see this data in a form that was more practical for me to digest. So I looked for more information and found that the 10.7 tonnes converted into a waste of £730 - £840 per average family of four in the UK and $2,275 in the USA. Together this adds up to a whopping £15 Billion per year of food waste from homes. I didn’t believe it either.

Just think what we could do with that much money. NHS, Cancer research, educating our children or lots of chocolate or gin. Most of us who like food, like to cook and definitely like to eat, are aware of where we get our food. Whether you’re a Marks & Spencer shopper or an Aldi shopper, we all read the labels and know if our food is local to us or shipped from overseas.

What happens when the waste food leaves our homes and hits the landfill is something most of us pay little attention to, yet it’s crucial to why we all need to be aware of how we use our food now and in the future. Even more, facts that wowed me.

According to Which Food, food waste causes as much change to our planet as plastic waste, for example, the energy needed to produce, the water footprint etc.

It produces greenhouse gases too. Initially, when we take our food waste bins out to the street to be disposed of, to be dumped into landfills, the everyday food such as our banana skins, tea bags coffee grounds, chicken bones, carrot peelings and leftover cooked food waste, is pretty harmless. Unfortunately, after a time, it starts to break down, and bad things begin to happen.

When breaking down, it produces greenhouse gases 25 times more harmful to the planet than carbon dioxide. This equates to approximately 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. If we think about this in relation to cars on our roads, this is the equivalent to 3.5 million additional cars.

All the noise we make trying to get cars off the road is very noble,

buying electric cars or cars that use unleaded petrol so that we can make our environments better for us, for the next generation and our planet, and we shouldn’t stop doing that.

However, food waste from our homes is something individuals can do to preserve our planet on an even more day to day personal level. Making households more aware and educated about the problem leaves us all to be more accountable for what is thrown in the bin each day.

But what about shops, restaurants, manufacturing concerning food waste?

Take a look at this pretty pie chart the lovey Mr G made for me.