Let me tell you about the (bloody) worst day of my life.
Isn’t it ironic that there are nearly 850 million people around the globe who are suffering from chronic hunger, yet in Australia alone we manage to throw out $10 billion dollars’ worth of uneaten food each year. Ten. Billion. Dollars.
According to a new study by Galaxy Research, this equates to nearly one sixth of our weekly grocery shop and comes to an annual total of over $1000 per household. While experts say that 92 per cent of Aussies are throwing out perfectly good, cooked food each week, surprisingly 71 per cent of people do want to reduce their wastage.
“Food waste is such a big issue in this country and we can each do our bit to help,” said Australian chef and pioneer in sustainable cooking, Matt Stone.
“It’s a lot easier than most people think, particularly with initiatives like Re-pie-cling, which tap into existing behaviours that people are already familiar with.”
Re-pie-cling, a sustainable cooking movement recently launched by Stone himself, aims to inspire Australians to get creative in the kitchen by using their leftovers for the filling of a pie. “It’s just a matter of popping yesterday’s leftovers into some Pampas Pastry and then popping that into the oven – all the while being mindful of the importance of food safety when using leftovers of course!” the chef explained.
“What you end up with is a reinvented meal and renewed excitement for the food. What’s more, almost any dish can be Re-pie-cled from savoury meals like spaghetti bolognese right through to desserts like left over fruit salad and custard.”
Sounds delicious – and easy, doesn’t it? Galaxy Research found that the most appealing fillings to Re-pie-cle with were roast chicken, roast beef and lamb stew, however Stone insists that’s it’s not just leftovers that can, or should, be used.
“Re-pie-cling doesn’t just have to be restricted to leftovers as 85 per cent of Aussies are also throwing out fruit or vegetables that are no longer looking their finest. This opens up opportunities for both sweet and savoury recipes and make good use of fresh produce that otherwise would have ended up in the bin.”
Aside from the financial cost, food wastage is also having a huge environmental impact. According to experts, when food is thrown away it’s turned into to landfill, which then contributes to the emission of methane – a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than the carbon pollution that comes out of your car.
In addition, the resources that it takes to produce the food – as in get it from the farm to your plate – is wasted. This all results in excess amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to a NSW government website, which contributes to global warming and climate change.
So ladies, if there is anything that you can take away from this article: think before you throw. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll also be saving on household expenses.
I’m a treehugger at heart and I’ve been doing my best to educate my children about the Earth, so I was shocked when my 7-year-old said once, ‘What we need to survive is shops’. It shows how easy it is for a city child to believe that food is something that comes out of a plastic packet, even if that child has grown his own tomatoes and strawberries on the balcony. It takes a lot of effort to teach kids about the world and how everything we do affects it in a negative or positive way, but it’s an important job that we have to do as parents and we can’t ignore. So how do we raise Earth-friendly kids?
Spend time outdoors
Not only your children will be healthier and more active, they’ll develop understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Their own interaction with nature can become a mini-model to understand how our society works. They’ll discover how an object from nature can be used in a variety of ways. For example, a stick can be a tool, building material, something to write with or a weapon. Depending on where you take that stick from and how you use it, it can be have minimal impact or it can be harmful.
There are numerous books and films out there, for any age or reading level that teach kids about the seasons, wildlife, pollution, recycling, where water comes from and what we can do to protect the environment. Our family’s favourite is Dr Seuss’ book ‘The Lorax’ and the movie based on that book. Use books and films as teaching tools, but also look out for opportunities in daily life to start a conversation.
Model green living
Your children will learn from your own efforts to preserve the environment. Do what you can to reduce your impact and talk to your kids why you’re doing it. Some easy practices that many of us do without even thinking about it are recycling, conserving water and energy at home, carrying our own reusable water bottles, accepting second-hand gifts and donating items we no longer need instead of throwing them in the bin. Point your actions out to your kids and explain why they matter.
Planting trees can be a rewarding activity in itself, but when your children watch their trees grow, they can see the impact they have made in a very real, tangible form. We planted some trees at a community event a couple years ago and we recently went back to check on our trees’ progress. The bare ground of the planting site had turned into bush. The children were amazed and proud that their small actions had made such a big difference.
Image by PeterDargatz via pixabay.com