This post is part of a series on food waste, for the UNEP/FAO World Environment Day 2013 Reduce your foodprint! ‘Think.Eat.Save’ campaign.
There are numerous issues leading to it that must be addressed, primarily our consumption patterns and our general ignorance or carelessness regarding what happens after (after a meal, after we throw something in the garbage, after the reports show that we are ruining the planet for all the generations to come, etc..)
What can we all do now? Reduce, reuse, and (separate for) compost.
Since the vast majority of us don’t have the time, means, or interest in growing a garden or cultivating our own produce at home, composting merely means separating organic waste. After that, we don’t think about what happens to it – it goes down the shoot if we live in condominiums, or to the curb if we live in houses, and that’s the end of that story for us.
We don’t know, care or seek out the hard reality such as shown these images:
But it’s still up to us to reduce the waste. Following that, there are a few other solutions which can also help. Maybe there are communal gardens where we can take it, or a neighbour who does have a garden. Also, say you are a frequent and loyal customer, you can make a deal with you farmer where you regularly purchase the produce – to supply them with a weekly organic compost, which they can treat their soil with and reuse as plant fertilizer. Maybe get some of your neighbours in on this scheme as well, if your city doesn’t separately collect organic waste.
There are specific guidelines on what is compostable, however would you want the paper, plates, styrofoam cutlery and bags in your garden, even if they are labelled biodegradable? So just the leftover food, then. And how about the foods with preservatives and chemical additives (packaged, processed, fast foods), which is a reason enough to rethink eating them. This may help (that tomato must be sprayed, otherwise it wouldn’t have lasted even that long). Ask yourself: if it takes that long to biologically break down, how much effort does your digestive system have to go through?
There are plenty of youtube videos about McDonald’s food not decomposing for months and years. In fact, after McDonald’s announced that it is adopting a food composting program, it was later teased, on April Fool’s Day with these headlines: “McDonald’s scraps composting program because food won’t decompose”! Love that.
Finally, for an extra kick, here is an extreme example of minimalism, anti-consumerism, radical simplicity, deviation from the mainstream, and even heedfulness, but you can’t deny that it is motivational. It’s fascinating!
A far cry from the level that any of us will even aspire to, it’s still an amazing way to draw attention to individual efforts and maybe prompt the rest of us to review and change our harmful habits and be less negligible.
More info and the author of that video and his inspiring mission.
World Environment Day is June 5th.
Reduce consumption, reduce food waste, reduce your foodprint: Participate in UNEP/FAO ThinkEatSave World Environment Day campaign and consider how all of our choices are affecting our surroundings and its present and future capacity.
Visit UNEP’s thinkeatsave.org site for some eye-opening, inspiring info that should spur you into action!