Ok, ok, the headline is a bit extreme. It’s not like those weekly waxed-boxes are flying private helicopters to climate change conferences or anything. I’m just wondering how many shrivelled turnips and soggy Swiss chard are filling up food waste boxes because of people’s good-intentioned ordering. I know in our house we have been shockingly wasteful with food at times, particularly when we get a box of veg we’re not too keen on. Would the environment actually be better off if we bought our veg from the end of the road, as and when we needed it? Our purses would certainly be fuller, but the produce would most likely have been flown in and certainly not organic.
Such a middle-class worry, I know. I often concern myself with big issues like this. Don’t get me started on washing-up the recycling: I’ve long thought it to be a ridiculous idea and a massive waste of water, but then last week Haringey Council gave us stickers for our bins asking us to clean the recycling. Now I’m worried that my recycling efforts thus far have all been for nothing. (Though I’m equally worried that Haringey Council don’t have a clue and are advising thousands of people to waste water for no good reason.)
Anyway, back to the food waste, obviously the best scenario is to keep the locally grown organic veg box and actually organise yourself so you don’t end up chucking half of it away. It really shouldn’t be that hard, should it?
So, a couple of weeks ago I stuck a piece of paper on the fridge and labelled it ‘The List of Shame’. On this list we have all been writing down any food we throw away – hopefully with the intention of shaming us into food efficiency (I say all of us, my boyfriend has been using it as an opportunity to make hilarious jokes by writing things like ‘felt tip pens wasted writing this note’.)
Week one on the list of shame there was:
- A bag of greens
- One pear
- Two pints of milk
- Bowl of tuna mayonnaise
- ½ pot of ricotta
- ¼ tub Philadelphia
- 1 baguette
- 3 slices brown bread
- 2 buns
Bad isn’t it? I estimate it to be about £9 quids’ worth of food.
But… week two – the list was clear! Sure, some of that is because not enough time has passed for things to go off yet, but a lot of it was because being aware made me cook using what we already had in stock. I even made some breadcrumbs from stale bread for the freezer.
So far week three has seen half a tub of cottage cheese being chucked, sadly. But, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’s still recommend a list of shame as a good place to start.