April 29th is Stop Food Waste Day – an initiative designed to raise the issue of food waste on a global scale, why this is such a problem, and share information and resources to help reduce it.
The majority of food waste doesn’t come from the places you’d suspect; our homes are liable for much more of the global food waste taken to landfill than supermarkets or restaurants.
Food waste is something that comes up time and again in the media. Now more than ever with COVID-19, isolation and shopping only for essentials, paying attention to and reducing food waste is something of critical importance.
Lee Majhen-Todd, foodie creator, writer and the creative mind behind Lee & The Sweet Life, is on a mission to help us reduce food waste, right now and in the long term. In most developing countries, one third of all food produced goes to waste. That is 10.7 million tonnes worth of food waste, per year, translating to £730 – £840 per average family of four in the UK.
Together this adds up to a whopping £15 Billion per year of food waste from homes, something that Lee and many others are passionate about reducing.
Many shoppers are now switched on to where food is coming from, either locally or shipped from overseas. But what happens when the waste food leaves our homes and hits the landfill is something most of us pay little attention to. According to Which Food, food waste causes as much change to our planet as plastic waste, for example the energy needed to produce it, the water footprint and so on. It produces greenhouse gases, too.
Lee said: “When breaking down, food waste produces greenhouse gases 25 times more harmful to the planet than carbon dioxide, equating to approximately 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.
If we think about this in relation to cars on our roads, this is the equivalent as 3.5 million extra cars.
“All the noise we make trying to get cars off the road is very noble, buying electric cars or cars that use unleaded petrol so that we can make our environments better for us, for the next generation and for our planet, and we shouldn’t stop doing that. However, food waste from our homes is something individuals can do to preserve our planet on an even more day to day personal level.”
Its estimated that by the year 2050, there will be an extra 2.3 billion people on this planet, and to feed everyone we will have to increase the production of food by 60 to 70 per cent. That is, if we don’t start to think about food in a different way.
Lee is campaigning on social media, with her Foodie Book Club members and with as many of the population as she can reach, for shoppers to think differently about food in five main ways; how they buy, when they buy it, how it is store, how it is cooked and what we class as waste.
She has been working to produce guides for households, full of useful tips and tactics to help them reduce their food waste, but also their shopping bills – music to our ears at times like these when there is so much economic uncertainty.
Available for free to all, these guides are all over on her website and include useful ingredient substitutes (especially useful when some products aren’t readily available), how to create herb and spice blends at home, and a feature-length article packed full of practical ways to focus on and reduce food waste.
Lee continues: “My way of cooking and cutting down on food waste isn’t new to me, I suspect it’s mostly down to how I was raised – not a lot of money, four children and parents with very little income. Creative cooking was seen by my parents as a necessity, not a new and trendy way of cooking.
“I try very hard to post recipes that people like to eat and cook for themselves, but I’m always aware of how many ingredients I use too. At the end of the recipes, in the Tip Box, there is often a way of using up any leftover ingredients and most of the dishes can be frozen.
“Stop Food Waste Day is a day to begin to think about food differently. Right now, with the world tipped on its head, it could be the perfect time to change what we think of as food waste.”
You can find Lee’s free resources over on her website, www.leeandthesweetlife.com.