I am sure you have seen the statistics which indicate that we discard between 20 and 50% of all food that is produced. Although this is from the UK, the situation is similar in all developed countries.
It is disgusting that so much food is wasted while there are millions of people on this planet who go hungry every day.
When I first read these figures, a couple of years ago, I found it unbelievable. However, since then I have realised that many people have very different ideas to me when it comes to food usage and storage.
I work in a city office of a large global corporation and from time to time there are catered events. I understand the difficulties of predicting quantities when catering for unknown numbers and tastes. However, the fate of the leftover food is disappointing, to say the least.
This week (Tuesday) there was a large tray of untouched green salad – specialty lettuce, red onion, cucumber, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrot and corn kernels as well as breads, dips and fruit. This was placed on the bench in the kitchen area and generally announced in the open office. I decided to have a plate of salad with hommus and basil pesto for my lunch and save my packed lunch for another day. There may have been one or two others who had a little salad but there was still a substantial quantity left a few hours later. I did not want to see it spoil so I packed it in the fridge. I put as much as I could into a square plastic container that I had plus I filled this container that was on the bench.
That accounted for about half of the salad so I put the rest in 2 large noodle bowls, covered them and placed them in the fridge.
I brought the 2 plastic containers home which provided enough salad for 4 lunches plus dinner for both of us tonight, alongside our hamburger patties and some fried mushrooms and onions. The salad remaining in the container is enough for my lunch tomorrow – last of the 4 lunches.
I was not in the office yesterday and when I arrived this morning the 2 bowls of salad were untouched but the midday they had disappeared. I cannot be certain but most likely they were discarded into the bin. I am constantly astounded by the lack of interest in using up perfectly good food. I am not suggesting that people gorge themselves on the excess but rather use it for future meals.
On a similar note, I went to a small community gathering yesterday evening and the request was to bring a plate of supper to share. This is what I took.
Does it look meagre? I constantly witness over-catering at events where there is ‘bring a plate’ catering.. If you think about it logically, you should really only contribute the equivalent of what you or your family group would reasonably eat if there was no other food to choose from. If everyone adhered to this principle, rather than bringing huge cakes or platters of sandwiches, there would be minimal wastage and less over-indulging.
What do you think?
I am lucky at my work as we have a full kitchen with a cupboard full of Tupperware style containers (probably that people have left at work and forgotten) which we can use to store leftovers from events and birthdays and for people to take food home in. We also have three departments share a roster each two weeks to clean out the fridges and we have a full size vertical freezer as well so lots of people bring a week’s worth of lunch and store it in large container or a bag in the fridge. We have two of these and they are the same as the commercial fridges in shops.
It sounds like things are pretty well set up at your workplace. 🙂
I can sympathize with your outlook Yvonne but having been the victim of a shocking bout of food poisoning from celebration food at work that was reused the next day I will be forever wary unless I have had control over the whole process .
Food poisoning is dreadful and we certainly do have to be mindful of how leftovers are treated and stored. I can understand your wariness.
I faced exactly the same things while I was still working in an office. I routinely brought home excess catering to use it rather than see it go to waste, and it wasn’t unheard of for me to freeze some (especially pitta breads).
I also agree that when bringing a dish to pass, it should only be as much as your family/people you are bringing could eat on their own. Just basic sense!
Well done on freezing the pitta bread. That was the unfortunate thing about the salad – there was not much else you could do. I would have fed it to the chickens which is still better than throwing it away.
I agree, there is far too much waste these days. Now that there are only two of us in my house it is really easy to use or freeze everything, it just takes a little planning. My daughter was working for a large company and every Friday the cleaners had instructions to completely empty the fridges in the lunch rooms. Everything went in the bin, containers and all. She only lost an expensive tupperware container once before she started remembering to take it home but every week there was such a waste of food and containers.
Julie, it sounds similar to my workplace except the fridge cleanout is once a month and we get email reminders in the week leading up to it so I don’t think too many containers disappear but I am sure people still throw out heaps of food.
i have heard of a few companies who have donated their leftovers to charity soup rooms to feed the homeless. that could be a suggestion for your work too?
yeh there is far too much wastage & they don’t think when catering to what people actually eat.
thanx for sharing
Thanks for the tip about donating leftovers to charity soup kitchens. I will look into that one.
My husband belongs to a bowls club and he is CONSTANTLY having to
rescue food that’s left over from tournaments (most recently a whole, unused,
very expensive quiche which is now in the freezer waiting for a dinner party!).
People just chuck everything in the bin without even thinking about it just
because they can’t be bothered wrapping it and taking it home.
And I am sure your dinner guests will be most appreciative. 🙂
There was a big function last night (150 people) but he wasn’t
helping out so I guess it all went in the bin!
I am so hearing you! Bring a plate should be 1 per 4 people, even then there will be too much. Surely even if not eaten food can be taken home for chooks or compost. And what’s with the plastic containers? Cant a platter/bowl be supplied to caterer that is filled. I really get on my hobby horse about this. Once a week I order my lunch through school canteen purely to support the return it gives us and I give them a container to put my food in. Took them a while but we finally got there 🙂 Harsh words should be had to whoever cleans out fridges in such a manner!
Thank you for your encouragement. It is so difficult. Some days I feel like I am the only person fighting an uphill battle. But I keep fighting. 🙂
Just keep chipping away. Be true to yourself!
A wonderful and thought-provoking post, thanks for writing it. I stumbled upon your blog today and love the concept and attitude!! I took the liberty of nominating you for the Versatile Blogger Award; for more infos check out my latest post. Feel free to accept or reject 🙂 In any case, all the best to you and continue doing this, it’s great!
Hello and thank you for your comment. I appreciate your nomination, however, I will politely decline this one as I have with all previous ones. I prefer to focus on the essence of my blog and I hope you will come back to see what else is in store. 🙂
That is absolutely fine with me 😀 I will be back either way. Have a good day!
Couldn’t agree more Fairy. I have found that since growing my own food in my allotment I appreciate it more, knowing the energy spent to grow it. We have a shared morning tea every Wednesday at the allotment/community garden and have an amazing variety of food as we are all happy to share ‘leftovers’. These tend to be home made, and delicious.