A conversation with Pia Bonke, HSEQ Specialist, focus on Environment & Sustainability

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What is your opinion regarding the great deal of attention currently being paid to food waste?

Waste is a global topic that affects many stakeholders at the same time. Those who make it clear to themselves just how much expenditure is involved in our daily food, whether in the form of energy, transport, water or packaging materials, and not least in terms of time, effort and personal passion: for them, this wasting of resources is hard to bear. In addition, what is lost as a result besides economic as much of what we waste is above all valuable and frequently perfectly edible. In other words, this deals with an important sustainability theme with a major need for action. 

Do you have any simple tips for reducing the amount of food that goes to waste in the kitchen?

I personally plan my shopping in advance and give considerable thought to what I really need or still have in the fridge and cupboards. With fresh foods, I tend to buy them in smaller quantities and preferably go back for more rather than have too much of something. Bread is fantastic for freezing. It goes without saying that purchasing planning plays a central role in waste prevention at large-scale kitchen operations, too.    

What is a small change that everyone can put into practice in everyday life in order to make a big difference?

Make the effort and take a bit more time for groceries; for one, deliberately question the origin, quality and value of the foods, then enjoy them. Something that is known and truly appreciated won’t be wasted so easily. For those where this ends up causing too much stress in everyday family or occupational life while shopping, they can start off with meat products, for example, by paying attention to where they come from. 

What are your methods for recycling leftovers and scraps?

It often happens that ingredients still in the fridge result in completely new, creative compositions – boldly explore the new! My latest discovery with a piece of leftover red cabbage: red cabbage salad “Thai-style” with ginger, chili pepper and prawns, served lukewarm. I always process overripe bananas into smoothies or cake. Mealy apples make a fabulous topping for apple pancakes.