So guys, it’s time for another plea – coming from my own personal needs. From my point of view: we are throwing away too many good and enjoyable groceries. It happens to me as well: last week I bought salad at the market, unfortunately it never made it to the plate. It was way back in the fridge and I just forgot about it. If you believe the numbers that keep haunting the net, around 18.4 billion of tons of groceries end up in the trash can. About 10 biollions could be avoided – without using new technologies, according to WWF-speaker Tanja Dräger de Teran. In average, Germans throw away enjoyable 313 kilos of groceries – per second.
There is a WWF study called “Das große Wegschmeißen”. WWF took a look at the amount of the losses during the whole chain from the acre to the end consumer. According to the study it is quite obvious that the end consumer plays a big role: about 40% of the trash in Germany come from private households. The rest are losses during production and in catering. Most important: the biggest part could be avoidable.
If agriculture, trade and consumer all together avoid trash, there would be a significant contribution to the protection of resources and climate, according to Dräger de Teran. Also the dumped groceries are fertilized, transported and cooled before dumping – therefore greenhouse gas emissions are accumulated for nothing. This wasted food mountain has an impact on the climatic change which reduces the global crops. So we are damaging our planet for nothing.
But it doesn’t help to just complain and do nothing – so what can we actually do? Well there is certain initiatives that help: such as www.foodsharing.de: the community members give away left over groceries. For example: you go on summer vacation and still have something left in your fridge. In this case, don’t throw it away. Look for the next digital grocery basket and fill in what you have left. Someone else can then see what you have available and you two meet for giving away your left overs. There is as well something called “Fair-Teiler” – a place where you can bring your groceries and someone else can pick them up. The idea behind is simple: distribute the spill-overs. More information on the video – sorry it is in German. But this is an international initiative – check out the map!!
I got as well some personal tipps in order to reduce the amount of dumped groceries:
- Before you go grocery shopping write a list and think about what you plan to
cook the next couple of days. This helps on the one side your wallet as you buy only specific products and not from here and there. On the other side it does help to reduce the amount of dumped groceries.
- As in my family we tend to buy, but not eat bananas. So this way, I regularly bake banana muffins or banana bread. I definitely don’t throw them away. I freeze the muffins and this way I always have a sweet treat or breakfast at home. Oh and this way I do use the left-over yogurt or curd cheese – which you can anyway use much longer than written on the box.
- If you notice that you bought something that you don’t want at the moment: freeze it!!! If possible, in glas 🙂 I freeze a lot of groceries: pasta, bread, falafel…
- If you got too many leftover vegetables in the fridge, just make a vegetable sauce and freeze it. It makes a nice dinner with rice or pasta, Cous Cous or quinoa.
- I check food blogs from time to time in order to find recipes to use left over groceries. My favorite ones are www.corianderisthenewbasil.com and www.lizandjewels.com
- I cannot stop saying it: Save packaging! Buy at the local markets or in your around-the-corner local shop. Buy where you get the products direct and without packaging.