Tuesday, 15 May 2012

It's not easy being green (2)

Hot on the heels of our eco-success (ahem) on Cramond beach (to be honest, it's hard to get worried about global warming when temperatures are sub-zero, or feel like it), we're embarking on green project number two.

And this is a biggie.  So big, in fact, that, if the truth be told, I've been putting it off.

We're trying to get Kitchen Canny.

Did you know:
  • The average Scottish household throws away edible food (not apple cores, not chicken bones, actual food you can eat) worth £430 a year
  • That's £1,000,000,000 of wasted food per year.
  • And of that £18,000,000 worth is still in date?
 And that's just Scotland...

And now you do know, don't you think that's something that needs changing?

I was a bit cynical, if the truth be told.  This is all part of Time to Share, a Tots100 initiative, linking bloggers with local charities, and when I signed up, I thought I'd be helping single mothers in Galashiels, or drug-users in Innerleithen (while obviously making no generalisations about either of those two towns, which have been entirely picked at random, caveat, caveat).  So when I was asked to spend an hour at Changeworks, an environmental charity in Edinburgh, I thought yeah, well, I said I would but...

...but. The thing is, they convinced me. This stuff matters. Look at those statistics.  Just think if that food could, as my mother was always telling me, be parcelled up and sent to "the starving children in Africa", or if that money could be used to help the single mothers of Galashiels or the drug-users of Innerleithen.

And, unlike with my nappies, this really is something I can do, a small thing admittedly, but something that is me, making my own tiny difference.

The problem is, I'm frightened to.

Because they've given me a kit. A Kitchen Canny kit.  And I have to take part in an experiment.  I'm not allowed, for a week, to chuck anything away that could have been eaten (potato peelings and eggshells are excepted).  And at the end I have to look at it and work out how much it's all worth.  And then I have to change.

And I really don't want to.  Because I suspect, in a way that blogging is supposed to, but sort of doesn't always, it's going to hold a mirror up to me, and I'm going to find out that I'm not as nice, or as good, as I think I am.

Because I'm pretty smug when it comes to this sort of stuff.  My mother, born in 1946, is the sort of child of rationing that reuses everything. Leftovers was a meal in our house: in a "What's for dinner?",  "Leftovers" way.  Best before dates were a target, not a guideline.  Bowls of dripping gathered strata, like geological sites, which, come to think of it, was a pretty good representation of their age.

And while I'm not quite that bad, I've inherited a lot of it.  I always use up my leftovers; I try to cook only what we're going to eat; I compost (much easier now we don't live in London); I make soups; I check what food and smells like before I chuck it, regardless of what the packaging says; I decide what meals we're going to have that week and only buy the food we need; I cut the brown bits out of fruit; I freeze manky bananas for smoothies and cakes... I'm good, I really am.  Or at least I think I am.

And I suspect that once I start using my kit, I'll be horrified.

So it starts tomorrow.  Come back in a week to find out how we did.


  1. Looking forward to hearing how you got on. I don't think we are too bad: I'm a great soup-maker too. I'm quite good at letting best before dates advise me rather than rule me (though husband gets a bit obsessed and is always chucking stuff out after the date).
    We have a sink-erator thing in our sink for getting rid of leftovers and peelings but I don't really know where the ground up food goes. Is it as green as it could be?

    1. Ah! The insinkerator... we have one too and I was all smug about that, but the Kitchen Canny people put their fingers on the same question you've asked... I thought it was all filtered out at the water works and used/sold as fertiliser, but apparently it depends on your water company. On my to-do list therefore (although fairly low on the list if the truth be told) is calling Scottish Water and finding out....

  2. I have been reviewing this and think it is a fab idea for people wh throw away food. A real eye opener

    1. Oh it, really is - about to post my results (better than I had feared, actually!)


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