Food waste - a huge polluter. This has to change!

Food waste needs to be centre stage on our agenda for change.

Food waste is one of the biggest pollution issues on the planet. It produces more emissions that steel and iron ore industries combined. At least one third of all food grown in the world is wasted. In my part of the world (Australia), around half of our bins are filled with food waste.

If we spend time to think about how our food is grown, how it reaches us, how it is transported, cooled, processed, cooked, packaged, served and stored we begin to realise the enormity of the problem with wasting it.  Embodied in food is enormous water use and water contamination, soil loss, fossil fuel use, chemical use, deforestation, plastics and a huge amount of human labour.

Did you know that food waste is the number one material sent to landfill - more than plastic and paper? In landfill it doesn't biodegrade in that oxygen-starved environment. It is not enriching the soil like in a compost system. Instead, as it rots, it releases methane - a greenhouse gas with 25 times the impact of carbon dioxide. It also contributes to the leachate that contaminates groundwater. Meanwhile our food system relies heavily on chemical fertilisers to feed plants.

The first thing to do is acknowledge that it is a significant problem, then work together to actively find solutions in our homes, our communities, cafes and restaurants, our offices, our schools, our hospital - wherever we gather and eat. Our actions inform system change.

Here is my recent Simple Life segment from Evening show on ABC Radio Queensland with Trevor Jackson. I discuss simple ways that even a novice composter, with a small space, can make a difference. Food Waste Recycling:

Here are just a few of the ways we can personally reduce food waste.

1. Eat more of your our homegrown produce
We overlook so much food in our garden because we don't realise it is edible, for example:
There is a huge range of plants we can eat. I'll keep talking about these in my blog, and please do share how you stretch your plant foods further.

Also read: More Food: Less Waste and listen to my ABC Segment on this topic:

2. Reduce wastage
We need to get serious about not buying and wasting food, and change our perceptions - e.g. too much food on our tables is offensive, rather than as a symbol of affluence and wealth. So for less waste:
3. Reuse Leftovers
Re-fashion your food into imaginative new dishes. It's a frugal thing to do, something that many of our grandparents did because they needed to. We need to reuse leftovers too, perhaps not because we can't afford more food, but because of the reasons explained above.

A simple example of using leftover pumpkin soup, it can be reheated, it can become a tasty pasta sauce base, a perfect ingredient for a curry, mixed into scones and so much more.

There is no really limit except in our imagination.

4. Recycle Food Waste 
Turn food waste into food for the soil. The best way to compost food scraps is in closed bin systems to avoid vermin and insects accessing rotting food. For this reason I use these systems for food scraps:

Here are some of my Youtube Clips about recycling food scraps:

Worm towers: 

Compost Bin:

Bokashi: coming soon

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