Every time food goes bad in my fridge and I have to throw it away, I feel guilty. I usually try not to let that happen as I strive not to waste food, and these times are now less and less frequent. Still, invariably, there will be moments when I buy too much, or I don’t have time to cook and use what’s in my fridge. And there it goes, to the garbage bin, food that took months to be grown, that used up soil nutrients, water and hard work from people or animals around the world. As a vegetarian for many years, I at least have the consolation I don’t throw away meat, that no animals had to die only to end up in the landfill. Food waste is a growing problem in our world, with studies showing that we waste about one third of the food produced for human consumption. It’s a complex problem with no easy solution. The wasted food comes from companies, as well as from individuals, it’s not sustainable and it has damaging effects on the environment. Luckily, in the past years this issue started to be addressed more often, on a large scale (for example in some countries the supermarkets are forbidden to throw away the food that’s about to expire) or on a smaller scale (associations trying to avoid food waste through local actions, and educating individuals to reduce their household’s food waste). There are a few of these associations in the Netherlands, and one of them is Taste Before You Waste (TBYW), which I want to introduce to you today.
TBYW is an initiative founded in 2012 focused on the prevention of food waste, with branches in Amsterdam, Bussum, Utrecht, Bergen and already going international (they started with a branch in Kingston, Canada). Their statement is:
Our aim is to raise awareness about the enormous amount of food that is thrown away and educate people about what they can do to prevent this from happening.