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  • Young Climate Warriors

Become a food waste detective - urrgh?

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

It’s time for some detective work! When did you last stop to look inside your food waste bin (urrgh!)? Detectives have to have their eyes peeled, and notice the smallest of details. This week you’ll be needing your wits about you, and your notepad to hand. Can you investigate which food type is the worst offender?

Are you intrigued? Where is all your food waste coming from? Sandwich crusts? Potato peelings? Brown bananas? Mouldy cheese? Something lurking at the back of the fridge that has passed its use-by date? Which foods do YOU and YOUR family waste – maybe use a secret code or a symbol to note down each type of waste? When you’ve conducted your investigations and after some ‘careful analysis’ can you make some family suggestions? Roast potatoes with their skins on? Make breadcrumbs from your crusts? Make a banana cake with the brown bananas? Can you keep a sharp detective’s eye on ‘use-by’ dates and freeze food you won’t be able to use in time? For some other tips and recipe ideas head over to #lovefoodhatewaste.

But does food waste matter? Well, a third of food produced globally is wasted and that’s a lot of unnecessary energy, water and raw materials used to produce food that’s not even eaten! In addition, much food waste ends up in landfill sites - in the UK it’s as much as 40%! Here it is broken down by bacteria that produce methane, which has a very powerful impact on climate change. Wasted food, if it was a country, would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world – after the United States and China!

How are people taking action? There are city-wide food waste projects … check out one of this year’s Earth Shot prize winners – City of Milan Food Waste Hubs project. They aim to halve food waste by 2030 - recovering food from supermarkets, and canteens, and re-distributing it to the neediest citizens. There are local food waste projects … find out if your local council collects food waste – and what happens to it. There are ‘at home’ food waste projects … How about worms? Worms LOVE eating food scraps – and the humus that they excrete is the main component of compost. Would you like to join the #wormup project – make your own worm farm, and compost your own food waste at home or at school? You might enjoy watching this ‘worm vs banana’ time-lapse video?

When you have undertaken your role as ‘food waste detective’ and after some ‘careful analysis’ decided how you can reduce your family’s food waste – then remember to HIT THE RED BUTTON!


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