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Sustainable Cooking and Eating - Raising awareness about food waste.

26 March 2012

Do you remember when local councils first issued us with yellow, blue and green bins and implemented “recycling” into our everyday homes? Up until then the rubbish bin was the end point for all our waste, food, bottles, newspapers and even garden waste. Now we were encouraged to separate, rinse and categorize. It wasn’t easy at first but we soon got the hang of it. By 1996 91% of households in Australia were practicing some kind of reuse and recycling activity. By 2009 99% of households had embraced a recycling routine.

The quest continues with the importance of raising awareness about the massive amounts of food that becomes waste. In NSW alone households throw away more than $2.5 billion dollars worth of edible food. In NSW landfills each year there is $848 million of fresh food, $694 million in leftovers, $372 million of packaged/long life food, $231 million of unfinished drinks, $231 million of frozen food and $180 million of home delivered/take away food dumped as waste.

This is approximately 1.1 million tonnes and for every tonne of food waste

dumped into landfill, 0.9 tonnes of greenhouse gas is emitted. If households reduced food waste by 66% the greenhouse gas saving would be the equivalent to removing 117,000 cars off the road in NSW.

Staggering statistics.

The Office of Environment and Heritage is heading the campaign to create a sustainable and healthy environment for the NSW community and in 2010 commenced a food waste education program-Love Food Hate Waste. 

The program aims to improve knowledge about the impacts of food waste and encourage and promote sustainable behaviors to reduce or avoid food waste through planning, preparation and storage techniques.

As a mother, household manager and chief cook it is of such importance and relevance to have the right knowledge and tools to feed and grow a family, save money and be mindful of how my actions impact the planet. Having a personal distaste for microwaved “left overs” I developed over many years a planned approach and adopted a philosophy of “Primary” and “Secondary” meals. Although some of my dishes are constructed out of food from the day before (sounds better than “left overs”) I prefer to transform them into a whole new dish with the addition of some other ingredients from my larder and sit back to witness my family clear their plates.

As partner now with the Love Food Hate Waste campaign I am using these techniques in my classes to do my bit to empower other household managers, keep the joy of cooking alive (there is after all so much pressure on us cooks with all that Mastercheffing going on in the lounge room!) and lend a hand to our beautiful planet. 

I encourage you all do the same and as a commitment to this campaign I have included an example of menu planning here using pork and veal mince to get you inspired.

 

PORK AND VEAL MINCE

PRIMARY MEAL- PASTA WITH A TRADITIONAL PORK AND VEAL RAGU 

PORK AND VEAL RAGU- SECONDARY MEALS X 2

FILLED JACKET POTATOES WITH RAGU, CHEESE AND BEANS

RAGU FILLED CREPES WITH A BAKED SOUR CREAM A CHEESE TOPPING (KNICKNAMED “FRENCH LASAGNE”)

 

PRIMARY MEAL-VIETNAMESE GINGER AND LEMONGRASS PORK AND NOODLE MEATBALLS. NUOC CHAM DIPPING SAUCE.

SECONDARY MEAL-PORK AND PRAWN WONTONS IN A FRAGRANT BROTH

 

PRIMARY MEAL-VEAL AND OLIVE BURGERS WITH TUNA AND CAPER MAYONNAISE

SECONDARY MEAL-VEAL AND OLIVE POLPETTINI IN PIZZIOLA SAUCE

 

(STATISTICAL INFORMATION WAS SOURCED FROM THE AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS AND THE NSW GOVERNMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE.)

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2 comments

  • Alison Clinch

    Alison Clinch 7 years ago

    Great article Rebecca. Once you see the statistics it's hard to ignore them. My husband's business, The Free Range Butcher (www.freerangebutcher.com.au) publishes a monthly newsletter and we often mention the Love Food. Hate Waste. website and include tips from it for our customers. They love it.

  • Rachael McKenzie

    Rachael McKenzie 7 years ago

    Wow those statistics are quite mind blowing.As a serial over- caterer I am going to re assess my evening menus to try and reduce some of my waste........thanks for the menu tips!