Despite rising awareness and debate, food wastage and dumping of excess food is a major cause for concern for us, as a planet. Not only can this ‘waste’ feed the homeless in some part of our city but these wasteful dumping exercises make the very environment that created that food, pay for it.
Methane, which is released in huge quantities each time food is dumped in landfills, is far more harmful than Carbon Dioxide. There is no denying that we are purchasing more than we can consume, trying more and more amounts of dishes at restaurants, buying more ingredients to somehow cook less because the price and convenience of takeaways, leaves us with little motivation to spend time in the kitchen. Whatever the reasons and causes are, fresh as well as cooked food is being thrown away as a matter of habit and practice. Approximately 300,000 tonnes is what UK based supermarkets are wasting annually.
Lack of logistics, imperfect information and efficiencies mean that this wastage, mostly unpredictable and last-minute, cannot be redirected, combated or reach the ones in need. On a personal level, I think there is a lot we can do which will collectively assist in making food waste less of a demon to our planet.
Too good to go
This new app is an excellent example of technology being put to great use!
It links you with local eateries that are throwing away food at the end of the day because either the food is not fit for sale the following day or it is just of no use to them. They post the available leftovers on this app and let you come in buy them for extremely low prices. This makes for great last-minute dinner options and is now gaining popularity in over 8 European countries.
After having lived in London, I have learnt that talking to your neighbours is almost illegal.
However, I still know people in India who give away vegetables/lentils to neighbours and friends, if they feel that they cannot consume them all. It’s completely acceptable to knock on your neighbour’s door and hand them a bag of potatoes because you’re going away for two weeks & will not be consuming those potatoes. Perhaps this is something that began as a result of frugal living, a product of people not having too much & preserving whatever little they had. However, it is now so far ingrained in the Indian DNA, that you can expect to see this in affluent cities as well.
Olio lets you connect with households and local shops near you to share food as well as other household items. There couldn’t be a simpler and nobler concept and as their website very truly puts it, ‘81% of us would be happy to receive food from a neighbour’. It is now active in over 41 countries and there is no reason why we shouldn’t jump on board, if we can! As comforting and luxurious as it is to own more then we need and throw away what we don’t, it is not going unnoticed by the environment around us. Its sickening to see that we sometimes waste more than we consume, simply because we are lazy to plan well enough.
There is a lot we can do on a personal level to truly do ‘our bit’ and all of it will count – I guarantee!
About the author
Nivi Singh is a finance professional, blogger and avid traveller with a strong interest in food and environment.
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