A couple of months ago, our fridge expired! One minute it was running smoothly, the next only ominous sounds emanated from the interior foreshadowing calls to the repairman or an appliance retailer. Then there was all the food, the clean-up and the $$$ for a new refrigerator. I couldn’t believe how much junk we kept in the fridge. The extra jar of jam, the pickles way in the back, the special Thai sauce long expired but only 25% used. I pride my frugal nature, but I was appalled by the careless abandonment of my golden rule of kitchen etiquette: Buy only what you’ll eat, not what you keep to dump on a heap.
It seems that I’m not the only one breaking this rule. A brief authored by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Water Management Institute confirms that we have a global waste crisis. We have enough food to go around, but distribution and wasteful habits are creating unnecessary pockets of hunger and causing havoc in our ecosystems. In the United States as much as 30% of food is discarded, which translates into about 215 kilograms of food/year for an average household. The annual cost: $48 billion overall and $600/household. Food that ends up in landfills is a primary source of greenhouse gases.
David Suzuki provides Canadian data. Single-family households in Toronto waste 275 kilograms annually. The good news: Toronto’s composting program captures approximately 75% of the waste. The bad news: Toronto taxpayers pay the cost of $10 million/year for food waste disposal.
There is hope!! Most food waste can be eliminated with planning and the willingness to change.
Taking the Kitchen is more than following a recipe and setting a table. It is about the economic and environmental necessity to apply food management skills in every kitchen.
“The continued poverty of the majority of the planet’s inhabitants and excessive consumption by the minority are the two major causes of environmental degradation.” UN Environment Program
Curaçao Market – Abundance