Sophie and Paul Collins, a couple living in Cambridge, only ate food waste for a month. They both follow a vegan diet, and they challenged themselves to create vegan meals out of food that usually ended up in the garbage. After four weeks, the couple was able to save more than $250 and proved that we throw away perfectly good food every day.
Without realizing it, we throw away a lot of food, and food waste is a serious issue. Not only does the practice waste a lot of resources, but it can also harm the environment due to the methane produced in landfills. Sophie and Paul took a more extreme approach, but we can all minimize food waste by being more mindful of the items we throw away; it’s not only better for our budgets, but also the environment.
For four weeks, the couple ate food items that passed their sell-by date, fruit from trees, and food their loved ones were planning to throw away. At first, they found it quite difficult to make meals out of food waste, but they got creative and resourceful. One of their best tools was an app that connected those with food surpluses to those who need food: Olio. With the right resources and mindset, the couple was able to successfully eat good meals made from food waste for four weeks.
While they didn’t continue to live off of food waste, Sophie and Paul were able to prove that the amount of food we throw away daily can sustain a household. Their efforts highlighted an important issue that we all look over daily, and that in of itself is a great achievement. Just in the UK, where the couple lives, each household wastes about £750 a year. The good news is that the government is beginning to launch programs that deal with food waste; retailers and manufacturers redistribute 43,000 tons of surplus food.
With both local activism and government efforts, the food waste issue can be resolved quicker. On an individual level, meal planning before grocery shopping and keeping track of what is in the cupboards and the fridge can really help manage food waste. Through proper management, we can save both our wallets and the environment.