This blogpost is also available in German / auf Deutsch hier
I’m again starting my blogpost today with a quote from a “meme”: “95% of our generation will eat chicken nuggets & sausage rolls made out of bumholes, noses, ears, eyelids, nails, cartilage, veins and bones but won’t even eat a bruised banana.” (Source).
Did you know that in Germany an estimated over 18 million tons (!!!) of food are wasted every year and are thrown away (source)? 60,000 truckloads, or around 1.5 million tonnes, of potatoes are lost each year. In medium to large bakery companies (large bakeries and supermarkets) almost every fifth baked good is not sold. The vast majority of this food waste is avoidable – a total of almost 10 million tonnes.
The reasons: Losses during cleaning and sorting, cold chain, cooking, sale, in the private household, etc. About 60 percent of the losses occur in the fields of agriculture, food industry, trade and gastronomy (source). But about 40 percent of the losses actually occur in the household!
This waste has enormous costs for the environment. The whole problem is not only morally, but also ecologically a tragedy. Because of this massive waste of food, 48 million tons of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions are released, which we urgently need to reduce.
In addition, science has also calculated how enormously important the reduction of food waste is: In order to sustainably feed the estimated 2050 world population of 10 billion people, it is estimated that we need about 50% more food than today (source), but at the same time we have to save reduce CO2 ,
According to a study published in Nature, for this to work we have to do three things: rely on a predominantly healthy and plant-based diet, promote and develop new techonology in agriculture, AND reduce food waste worldwide by at least half (direct source here and good article on the study here, entire study here).
Last year I learned a bit more about this topic. Together with the WWF, we did a Zero Waste cooking evening, where vegan cook Sophia Hoffmann showed us how to make food out of foods that are supposed to be “garbage”, e.g. using apple peels, old bread and one year old Easter chocolate, we prepared magical dishes. Here is just a little insight:
Zucchini and paprika with brown spots. We simply stuffed the peppers and baked them in the oven. The zucchini was used in a gazpacho / soup!
The soup made out of “old bread”, discarded zucchini and soft tomatoes.
Chocolate mousse made from old Easter and Christmas chocolate!
After my January theme month Veganuary, the theme this month will be food waste. The dramatic numbers from above can be crippling. However, by relying mainly on scientific facts and studies, I see what can / must be done. As pointed out in the study linked above, we also have to change a lot in the private sector and not rely on big companies or politics to intervene quickly. Especially, since a significant portion of food loss occurs in our own home. So not only the policy, but also every private household has to change. And at the same time I do not want to sound judgmental, but rather my goal is to motivate. Any improvement is a step and you do not have to make an immediate radical change today, e.g. on zero waste or vegan. But constant small changes, talking a lot, reading and learning helps so much!
So what can we do?
So for one month I will focus on this topic with the goal to NOT sound “dramatic” or judgmental, but to motivate. I will introduce various projects, people and ideas, as well as concrete tips. I can not put all the details in one article, because it would break the blog post 🙂 In the next few weeks, I will add posts on the topics “imperfect” vegetable crates, food rescuers, apps & projects, information on the best before date, zero waste cooking, recipes, book tips, political activism, and more!
If you know of projects that I should include then please tell me about them in the comments!
How do you fight against food waste?