Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Waste......Turning My Anxiety Into Opportunity

First of all, let me say...I would NEVER buy anything like the fruity, squeezy packet pictured above. Never. First of all because of the excess of packaging, mostly unrecyclable, secondly because the contents within could be easily made, in a far more healthy manner than presented here and thirdly because the price is stupid!

So, why do I have a picture of a squeezed out packet, an apple and a rather large zucchini?

Well, here are just a couple of examples of foodstuffs I have rescued this week. They are not ALL the items I have rescued this week. They're just the ones I have photographed.

I have rescued all the items from work and elsewhere. Every day for example, someone puts a whole, perfectly good apple in the bin, before 8:30 am. By lunchtime, the squeezy fruit thing appeared as well. The vegetable I found, unpicked and ignored, along with an abundance of ripe tomatoes. No-one wanted them. This is a daily occurrence. It's not a one-off or a mistake, it's a regular thing.

Other items that come up on the radar a fair bit are muesli bars and bananas.

I understand that little people have their lunchboxes filled by parents and parents like to see their kids eat what's in the lunch boxes. So my thinking is that perhaps the kids chuck the stuff out, to make it look like they've eaten their food. But perhaps parents could speak to their kids about what they actually like.

In the past, often, I have kids who are crying because they've had something packed in their lunch that they don't like. But I do know, from research, that kids often simply chuck stuff out, because they can. So, the rescued food (and I have a friend who also helps me rescue unloved food) comes to me and I keep it in my office. Then when another child comes to school, without food (which you might be surprised, is a common thing) then there is something to give to that kid. It might not be healthy, it might not be quality, but it is certainly better than letting a kid go hungry.

Wasted food gives me anxiety. Because to me, it is symbolic of many things that are wrong with the way we are teaching or not teaching, our young ones. I don't get waste, because with a little forethought, there's usually something you can do with it. Something a lot more useful than throwing it in the bin. At work I am a bucket Nazi and any fruit peelings, cores or sandwiches go into a chicken bucket or compost bucket (we have both). The children are mostly aware of this and do a good job. We have also had good conversations about zip-lock bags and one-use items and I was really heartened to see that some kids had opinions and told me how their families reused things. But I am just one person, my clients are just one class. There's so much more that we educated adults could do.

My anxiety leads me to think of other ways to do things. I have to use it to find opportunities with waste, and feeding hungry kids is a start....it's a small start.

I sure would love to know who the apple dumper is though....


  1. Good for you for rescuing those items in the bin! It's a great way to stop some of this food waste.

  2. OMG -- I do so agree with you! What is wrong with our society where so many children suffer from food insecurity and others just throw it away? I think what you are doing is commendable.

    It is too bad that kids aren't taught to re-use/bring home their zip-lock bags, or better yet, their parents to teach older kids how to re-use glass jars, etc. to transport food. I don't like the idea of food going to waste, ending up in landfills and landfills getting filled up with plastic because it's a convenient way to transport food. But the evils of plastic packaging (and phlalates) is another topic that sets me off too...

  3. I told my children to bring all home. Half eaten food, never touched food, and wrappers all came home where I could see what was happening to food. If they did not like how something appeared at lunch, like an apple slice being brown, I could adjust things so they would eat their food.

  4. It's interesting to think what kind of conversations go on around this in other homes. As you say, we can only make and influence change in our own sphere. Little snapshots like this really highlight that we have such a long way to go on shifting people's approach to food and waste.
    At my old workplace I used to be the recycling zealot - i'd often grab people's tuna tins and yoghurt tubs from the rubbish and put them in the proper place (when no one was looking...)

  5. How sad that children come to school without lunch. I hope it's mostly due to them forgetting it on the school bus or something along those lines. :-( Thank you for taking care of those kids!


Please leave a name and location so we can see who you are. Thank you. I have turned off anonymous comments due to excess spam. Thank you.