Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ah just throw it in the bin

Foodwaste! God how it bugs us all but yet we keep throwing out food.
We don´t mean to waste money. We don´t mean to ignore food in the fridge. We don´t mean to be wasteful, We don´t mean to overshop but we do.

To varying extents, all of us waste food. I am a complete scrooge but at some stage during the week I will still throw something into the bin that should not be there. Most of the time I think I´m great on the food waste issue but actually I´m not. I´m pretty medium rate. I make the "it goes to the dogs" excuse. We have two dogs which are very good at eating anything that falls on the floor, let alone scraps from plates. Unfortunately remembering to cut the Labrador´s food after half a bowl of scraps doesn´t always occur. So we´ve one fat dog and one anorexic terrier which is pretty much the way terriers are.

Some vegetables can go to my two rescue horses but as they are in work and as one is pretty fussy carrots are about the height of it. One thing I am very good at is shopping strategically and planning meals. I just make too much each time. Yes I freeze and make large batches to have later but often serve portions which are too large, particularly to my two children. Watching them say they are full when their plates are still laden with food, it´s tempting to make them suffer it out and eat the lot. But as we now know, this method employed by our parents is a dietary no no. (oh how I suffered at the table with gerbil cheeks full of spinach) so it´s back to the dog´s bowl it goes or into the bin.

Sometimes I get it really wrong - an untouched iceberg lettuce weeping in its wrapping at the back of the fridge and even today - some pork belly I bought which I was really looking forward to roasting tonight with Roosters and beets is somehow three days past the date. How did that happen? Why didn´t I put it in the freezer?

So we know it´s a problem but why do we keep doing it? Perhaps we don´t know Exactly how much it costs. Well now em, we do.

For the past six months by other half, journalist and co-author of the original  Basketcase Philip Boucher-Hayes has been filming a documentary for RTE on food waste in Ireland and examining strategies to curb it. When you tot up the figures it seems that in this country that of every three bags of groceries we bring into the house, one goes in the bin. Yep, throw it in, just like that. The other shocking figure is that according to the EPA - half a billion euros, yes, half a billion, could be saved if we got control of the problem.

As it´s such a large issue spanning everything from hospital food to high end restaurants one of the challenges in making the series was how to reach into our - the viewer´s own shopping and eating behaviour. So the series picked one town - Killorglin in County Kerry to focus on and take case studies of families in terms of what is coming into their house and what is going into the bin.

Here´s the promo for the documentary.

It´s interesting frankly to see your own behaviour reflected back at you. Everyone has issues with food waste and it goes on in every kitchen. In a country where one in ten people suffer from food poverty its an uncomfortable situation. Philip´s documentary - Waste Watchers is on RTE 1 television is on this 
Sunday at 6.30. 

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