wasting a quarter

Not too long ago I read this article from The Guardian Australia about food wastage and I was a little shocked: every household wastes at least 13% of their food.

Of course, the article focussed on the “worst” offenders who throw away up to 25% of the food they buy. The article also referenced a second report, indicating it might be even worse. I have to admit, the whole idea made me feel sick because that’s wasting food, wasting money and wasting the resources used to produce the food in the first place. Sure, the people throwing out a quarter have no excuse for a) buying that much extra and b) not working out how to use it but can anyone throwing away any of what they buy really feel smug? No.

According to food waste expert Tristram Stuart in his book Waste, people who live alone actually waste more food per person than the average household. I’m assuming he’s talking about England but still, I live alone and I know I waste food.

The international Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. This is lost throughout the supply chain, from the initial farmer/grazier/orchardist all the way through to, well, me as a household consumer.

I definitely don’t throw out a quarter of the fresh food I buy but I am guilty of throwing out some, particularly if my menu planning has been neglected or if my plans change. Even the less perishable items in the pantry are sometimes wasted as I realise I bought arborio rice to make a risotto that never happened. Two years ago. The food wastage is bad enough but having just tightened my grocery budget, I simply can’t afford to waste a tenth of what I spend.

Keeping in mind I went over my grocery budget a lot in the last¬† year (I am trying to keep it at $50-60 a week for food and things like cleaning items and other grocery store items), a 13% wastage could have cost me $360 in 2017. If I was at the higher end of the range, it could have been as high as $690. No matter what the amount, that’s money that could have been in my high interest savings account.

Time to stocktake the pantry, fridge and freezer before I make up the next menu plan and shopping list and to keep a track of what I waste.

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