For those of us who know or care, all those skip bins behind shopping centres and food halls are on their way to landfill. Very little commercial organic waste in WA is processed outside a landfill. The despair at the waste is enormous, even more so because we feel powerless to slow it down. But we do it ourselves. Forgotten leftovers, soft fruit, the wilting lettuce, the half eaten apples in the office bin…. all become part of the waste stream. Research shows that the average Australian family throws away $616 of food every year (source: Google food waste statistics)
But the intrigue of the reporter was in the adventure and skill of the bin retrievals. A wedding reception banquet has been created from discarded foodstuffs! To me the real story is the shame on us as a community that demands bountiful shelf-filled shops. How indignant are we if there is only one lettuce and a few tomatoes left on the salad display? We want a choice of at least 12 lettuces to pick and prod. Calculated waste is built in to the supermarket costs. And just look at the excess bread left over at the end of the day in small bakeries!
If we attend a farmers market our expectations are different. When the apples run out, they are finished, we’ve come too late. No built in waste.
We need to lower our expectations and accept a blemish on an orange or a slightly squashed loaf of bread and understand the shop will run out of certain goods. The food going in to skip bins should be everyone’s shame.
Have we lost our sense of frugality and thrift? Are these words even used let alone practiced?
Could you change the way you shop to reduce wastage?
13 Jun 2011 7:00 AM