Why is it so important that we pay attention to how much we waste?
The first week in March 2021 is Food Waste Action Week. We decided to take some time to find out just how much of an impact food waste is having on our environment and we were shocked to find out some of the statistics. We discovered through WRAP that around a third of the food we produce worldwide is lost or wasted, all that food waste contributes to between 8-10% of the total man made greenhouse gas emissions. To put that into further perspective, if food waste was a country it would be the worlds third largest emitter of CO2 emissions after China and the USA.
How can we help as indiviuals?
All these scary statistics can sometimes make us feel helpless, I know that's how we feel sometimes. However, a good way to start is small and incrementally. Although about 70% of food waste in the UK is coming from homes, we can feel empowered by this! Instead of waiting for supermarkets to change or governmental changes to happen, the power can be in our hands to make a real difference.
We thought we would help by giving some ideas of what you can do at home and some initiatives happening in our community to help prevent so much food going to landfill.
Plan your meals - We found that when we planned our meals for the week, it not only saved us some stress, but also saved food waste at the end of each week. If you need some ideas of where to start with planning your meals then you can head to www.lovefoodhatewaste.com and they have really handy tips, recipe ideas and free portion planners to help.
This next tip really goes with the first - only buy what you need. We are of course an advocate of this because you can head to our shop The Selkie Collective (see our shop page for details) and use our refills to buy only what you need. We supply mainly dried food goods, however, the same is very important for fresh food. Understanding portion sizes has been a big learning curve for us, and finding shops where you can buy loose food rather than in packets can really help with buying only what you need and saves on waste.
Use your freezer to your advantage. Buying frozen fruit and veg is a great way to make sure food doesn't go off. Or if you see your bananas, apples or root veg starting to get a little soft then you could chop them and pop them in your freezer for smoothies or soup at a later date. It's a great place to keep herbs too, if you're feeling particularly chefy then you can chop your herbs and place them in olive oil or melted butter and then into ice cube trays to be kept in your freezer. You then have these perfect tasty cubes to pop into your frying pan!
We are lucky to have a great community of people here in Skye & Lochalsh that have been doing a lot of hard work over the years to try and lessen problems such as food waste, and to create positive community spaces where people of all ages can come together to grow their own food.
Community Fridges are part of a UK wide network. Surplus perishable food is donated by local businesses or memebers of the public, and then made available to people that need it.
"Community Fridges exist to reduce food waste and foster a spirit of sharing and mutual support within a community." Broadford and Strath Community Company.
These fridges are a valuable resource that offers fresh food to everyone, they operate on a trust basis and are not means tested. Our local Community Fridge is organised by Broadford and Strath Community Company, to find out more about this fridge you can take a look at their website to find out opening times; https://www.broadfordandstrath.org/project/broadford-and-strath-community-company-covid19-response/
To find a Community Fridge near you please follow this link to find out more; https://www.hubbub.org.uk/the-community-fridge
Along with the Community Fridge the Broadford & Strath Community Company have also gained funding to provide growing spaces for our community here in South Skye. The main aim was to reduce the carbon usage by growing food locally rather than importing it from further away.
The wonderful thing about having a community space to grow is that we eat more seasonally and only whats available which automatically helps to reduce food waste. Educating young children how to grow food, how to compost and the importance of doing both to help our environment. To find out more about the projects or to get involved: https://www.broadfordandstrath.org/project/greener-broadford/
Wasted food is contributing massively to climate change, but it is good to know that if you're an individual, or business there are impactful things we can do. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference!
If you have ways that you reduce waste within your own household we would love to hear about it, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can head to our Facebook page and Instagram to post or comment.