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Food "Waste"

After talking with my neighbour (we just got recycling bins here) I was thinking about the difference between food waste and wasting food. The former being things like banana peel and the latter being that pot of yogurt you forgot to eat.

Thinking a bit more about it I looked up some statistics. The statistics for the UK say that an average household wastes just under 2kg of food per day, how could this possibly be true? I mean yes we've all forgotten the milk or found a loaf of furry bread hiding behind the kettle, but 2kg per day? I don't think I buy much more than 14kg of food per week.

So I went and looked up the definition of food waste, and well talk about disingenuous statistics
Food waste is any food that has become waste under these conditions:
1. it has entered the food supply chain,

2. it then has been removed or discarded from the food supply chain or at the final
consumption stage,

3. it is finally destined to be processed as waste.

food waste can comprise items which include parts of food intended to be
ingested (edible food)
and parts of food not intended to be ingested (inedible food)

Now it becomes clear, when they hit you will terrible headlines about 2kg of food wasted per household per day, they are including those orange peels, the chicken bones, the avocado stones, the grapes stalks...

It also explains why food left in fields or discarded for being imperfect isn't counted as it's not entered the food supply chain yet.

So my conclusion is that households waste a fraction of the reported amount, but overall the wastage is probably just the same as so much bulk waste isn't counted at all.



  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,178
    I think the statistic is that 2/3rds of the food thrown away would/could have been edible. I know at least 1/3 of food put near my kids ends up in places that weren't intended. I feel sorry for farmers who grow kale knowing people just buy it to put in the fridge to remind them why cake is so popular.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,500
    Well researched, Skandi!  If only the population as a whole had lived through the 40s and early 50s, 'Fussy Kids' wouldn't exist to the extent they do today, vegetarians/vegans would be few and far between, 'Gluten Free' would be unheard of and 'left overs' would have been incorporated in the next day's meal in some way.
  • debs64debs64 Posts: 5,045
    My fiancé who is a chef refuses to have anything to do with kale. He says it’s grown for animals to eat and is inedible in any form so I have never tried it. I do however like cake. We never waste cake in this house. 
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,010
    edited November 2022
    I like kale. Cavolo nero and asturian tree cabbage in particular, but I also eat 'normal' curly kale. And cabbage. Sprouts are the only brassica that I dislike at all

    On the subject of the OP, though, brassicas do generate food waste. Aside from the tough stems and nibbled leaves, they do produce quite a lot of bulk material that you end up discarding back to the compost heap. When they are growing strongly, almost all of them get really big. I'm not sure what the edible to non-edible ratio is for a cabbage, but it's not brilliant. Ditto things like beans. 

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,264
    Hold on a minute @nick615 if you're implying that vegans waste food then in this household at least you are just plain wrong.

    I am a "fussy eater" in that I don't want to eat dead creatures, but that doesn't make me wasteful.
    We grow a lot of what we eat, and the only waste is things like trimmings from sprouts etc. and they go in the compost heap.

    I love kale (and cake), and left overs are always the next day's lunch.

    Bee x

    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,302
    I love kale! I grew it for the first time last year and am growing twice as much this year. I tend to add it to stews and sauces mostly, but my teenage daughter loves it in a smoothie. 
    Personally I don't count composting as waste, but reuse.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • LG_ said:
    I love kale! I grew it for the first time last year and am growing twice as much this year. I tend to add it to stews and sauces mostly, but my teenage daughter loves it in a smoothie. 
    Personally I don't count composting as waste, but reuse.
    Try it in Caldo Verde...tasty.
  • Arthur1Arthur1 Posts: 538
    As a veggie, I too like kale but probably only eat it a few times a year. It is also a beautiful plant  though I don't grow it. Too many pigeons and slugs.
  • LG_ said:
    Personally I don't count composting as waste, but reuse.
    Sadly you're in a minority, along with me. Since the introduction of the stupid garden waste bin most people now use it to it's fullest idiotic effect.
  • I tried an experiment yesterday with my surplus eating apples.
    Having already given my daughter a box of them, left 2 boxes of them on a bench on the Village Green for locals to help themselves and eaten a good few myself,
    I peeled, cored and quartered them. Put the flesh through a juicer. 2 ltrs. of juice went into the freezer for later.
    The pulp I saved and added a little sugar, the zest and juice of a lemon, and a good dose of ground ginger and used it as a pie filling.
    The peel and cores went into a large jar with a little sugar and water to cover, it was covered with muslin, and left to ferment into cider vinegar.
    The total amount of waste to go on the compost heap, about a tablespoon of stalks, pips, and bruised apple flesh. 
    The pie is delicious, as is the juice. I have never tried making cider vinegar so time will tell, I have to wait for it to complete fermenting. Over the years I have had enough wine go wrong and turn to vinegar so there is no reason for the cider vinegar trial not to work.
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