So you know food waste is costing you, our farmers and the environment, but you’re sick of being spoon fed solutions that are good in theory, but don’t work when shit gets real.

Enter Youth Food Movement Australia’s SpoonLed series, food waste advice from young people like yourself. We’re thinking outside to box to bring you the best solutions that actually work and are freakin delicious, from our mates and Sydney & Parramatta events. Read on to give food waste the flip.

So you’ve starting rescuing your veggies, smashing through leftovers, and even making snacks from scraps. But how do you get your mates to give a shit about food waste without being preachy?

It’s a confidence thing.

Though we live and breathe food waste at YFM HQ – heck, food saving hacks even pop up in this here writer’s dreams – it can seem daunting to make such a huge issue mean something to the people around us. Let’s imagine, for the third week in a row your housemate has tossed a couple of misfit or droopy carrots into the general waste bin. You know that those droopy carrots are still perfectly delicious to eat. Hell, maybe you’ve even left notes about it that range from passive to aggressive in the fridge and the fruit bowl. Maybe you’ve even resorted to shovelling food scraps into their shoe. When it gets to this level of compos(t)ure, it’s easy to get disheartened, feel like a nag and shy away from saying anything helpful at all. But our generation (18-24 year olds) can make the biggest difference, because we are one of the biggest culprits.

We’re here to tell you that it’s easier than you think to build your confidence back up and Trash Talk like a boss. There are three things to remember:

1. Put stats in your pipe and smoke ’em.

There are a lot of stats out there about the amount of food we waste and its impact.

Did you know that each year, Australians discard four million tonnes of food, that’s four hundred and fifty thousand garbage trucks full to the brim with food waste. On a more individual level, the average household bins up to twenty percent of the food they purchase, which is one out of five full bags of groceries.  If we consider the financial impact, every year an average household ditches one thousand dollars worth of food, which could have fed the same household for an entire month. Our continent, every year, chucks out eight billion dollars worth of perfectly good food.

There’s a mighty chance that you’ve come across these stats before, that you’ve felt the weight of them (450 thousand trucks is a lot of weight to bear) and you may already be taking some small steps in your daily life to change these figures. You care, but the truth is, stats aren’t going to get your mates to care and talk about this stuff. And to be fair, for most of us these stats will slip from our minds. Which is probably why your gut can tell you it feels preachy to pump out a barrage of stats mid-convo.

2. Wield positive stories and shared experiences over stats

Transformed those misfit carrots into a chip and dip situation? Awesome – now feed the curiosity of your housemates, not just with dip but with the story of how it came to be.

If you want to take it a step further, get creative in the kitchen. Together. Stockpile those stalks and stems and then make a date out of cooking them into a beautiful soup (now there’s a Tinder caption if I ever read one) or share your leftovers at work and make eat-away-from-your-desk-time environmentally friendly too.

Nothing leaves a lasting impression more than a belly-pleasing experience. It feels good to sync up your heads, hearts and hands (and bellies) for a cause.

3. Involve the people around you by asking for help

Speaking of a cause, if you’re finding it hard to stick to your food saving regime (no one’s perfect! just pick yourself up and try again) propose a one month food waste challenge for the whole house! It’s not rocket science but rather than pointing the finger, own up and say that you’re finding it hard too, and you need some comraderic help. Here are some food saving hacks and inspiration to get you started.

And if your housemates are a little bit commitment phobic, why not start with a “free-for-all food shelf ” in your fridge for those times when you were overzealous at the markets or you know you won’t get through all those leftovers. Don’t bin them, they could be someone else’s banquet.

 

In Australia, Gen-Y (represent!) are the biggest culprits of food waste and we’re also the generation set to inherit all the social, environmental and economic problems that our business-as-usual way of living has got us. Sometimes it seems that turning a blind eye is the easiest thing to do, but when you consider the mid-to-long term, giving a shit and taking action is the only thing to do.

A shoe full of food waste will only get you so far. So, get confident. Start doing it. Get your friends in on it too, transform those stats into headbangin experiences with leaves and roots, say no more.

Image & video by Kit Baker

Helena Rosebery

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