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Julia Carlow's avatar

Julia Carlow

AUS Sustainability

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 176 Total

Julia's Actions

Food

Keep Track of Wasted Food

Reduced Food Waste

I will keep a daily log of food I throw away during Drawdown Ecochallenge, either because it went bad before I ate it, I put too much on my plate, or it was scraps from food preparation.

COMPLETED 0
DAILY ACTIONS

Materials

RECYCLE EVERYTHING I CAN

I will recycle all my household recyclables, including office paper, metal/aluminum, #1 & #2 plastic bottles, glass and cardboard. To ensure the highest quality of recyclables, I will make sure everything is rinsed and free of food contamination. Contamination can prevent recyclable items from being accepted by recyclers.

Completed
One-Time Action

Transport

WORK REMOTELY

I will calculate the carbon emissions saved based on my modified COVID 19 behavior. Calculate the average distance driven by your family in one week, including, work commute, school pick-up or drop-off, shopping and errands, etc. Enter this information along with the make and model of your car into the Carbon Footprint Calculator (using the car tab). Then enter your total CO2 emissions in the Google Form. Click 'learn more' below for links to the calculator and the google form.

Completed
One-Time Action

Transport

WORK REMOTELY/SOCIAL DISTANCING

I will calculate the carbon emissions saved based on my modified COVID 19 behavior. The emissions calculate consist of an average day's driving for me, including, my commute to work, school pick-up or drop-off, shopping and errands, etc.

COMPLETED 0
DAILY ACTIONS

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  • Julia Carlow's avatar
    Julia Carlow 4/20/2020 5:16 AM
    Food waste is a topic close to my heart. Growing up, my parents taught us to serve small portions and only reach for seconds if we were still hungry. Our plates were expected to be empty at the end of each meal as food was considered precious in our home. As an adult, I can now fully understand the cost of wasted food, not just in terms of "money down the drain" but also in terms of "impact on the environment". Living in a culture characterized by  abundance and endless, year-round supply of affordable food, being conscious about food waste almost feels rebellious. Here are some of my strategies that have proven to be effective in minimizing food waste in my home:
    1, Choose quality of quantity.
    It sounds counter-intuitive at first, but spending more money on high quality, organic products makes me appreciate them more and gives me an added incentive to use them consciously. Added bonus: you actually end up eating tastier, healthier food that is grown without harming the environment.
    2, When you shop for groceries, think about how you are going to use each item in the coming days/week (especially when it comes to fresh, perishable food). Yes, something might be on offer this week, but think realistically about how many yogurts your family can really eat before the expiration date.
    3, Check the items in your fridge regularly and try to do some rough meal planning around the items that need to be eaten soon. Remember to eat up your existing food items first before restocking your fridge/pantry.
    4, Before heading to the supermarket (or online store app on your phone), make a detailed shopping list. Try to stick to your list the best you can and don't get tempted by impulse buys. Your wallet will thank you!
    5, Try to be realistic about how much food you / your family really eats in one meal. I tend to err on the cautious side to avoid leftovers. If you still feel hungry after your meal, well then there is always dessert.... or a nice cheese platter...
    6, If you have leftovers, try to use them up as soon as you can. The longer my leftovers stay in the fridge, the less likely I am to eat them.
    7, Learn how to be creative about using up scraps and not-so-fresh produce. Vegetables can easily be turned into nutritious stocks that can be used as a base for soups, braises or risottos (they also freeze pretty well for later use). Fruits can be turned into smoothies, jams or baked goods (banana bread for the win). Leftover pasta makes for a good pasta bake and leftover rice is ideal for an Asian-inspired fried rice.
    8, The freezer is your best friend. Freeze fresh produce to keep it fresh longer (especially meat and fish, but also butter, cheese and bread). Freeze leftovers as soon as possible to avoid contamination.
    9, Regularly organize your fridge and move things that need to be eaten soon towards the front where they are easily visible and won't be forgotten. An "eat-me-first-box" maybe a good idea if you live with family members who are less likely to check expiry dates.
    10, Last but not least, try not to order take-away when your fridge is brimming with fresh food. Save food deliveries for those days when the fridge has nothing left to give. Your wallet and your planet will thank you.
    I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any tips on how to avoid food waste in our homes, please share with the group!
    Best wishes, Julia

  • Julia Carlow's avatar
    Julia Carlow 4/15/2020 3:27 AM
    Eco Challenge Team,
     
    Thanks for your participation in our EcoChallenge so far. We hope you find it a helpful tool to identify and understand different ways in which you can positively impact climate change.
     
    This week we are focusing on food waste. According to a recent study, a third of all food available for human consumption does not make it from farm to fork and ends up being wasted (https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/20/health/global-food-waste-higher/index.html). Climate experts have identified food waste as one of the top sustainability problems worldwide and the United Nations environment program states that "Globally, if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the US." (https://www.unenvironment.org/regions/north-america/regional-initiatives/minimizing-food-waste). Producing uneaten food squanders a whole host of resources—seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labor, financial capital—and generates greenhouse gases at every stage—including methane when organic matter lands in the global rubbish bin. Food waste is an issue in both high- and low-income countries. In places where income is low, wastage is generally unintentional and occurs earlier in the supply chain—food rots on farms or spoils during storage or distribution. In regions of higher income, willful food waste dominates further along the supply chain. Retailers and consumers reject food based on bumps, bruises, and coloring, or simply order, buy, and serve too much. (https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/reduced-food-waste)
     
    If you are like my family, you are currently eating all of your meals at home. This presents us with a unique opportunity to take a comprehensive look at the food we throw out over the course of a week and come up with strategies to mitigate food waste in our homes.
     
    Our Week 3 action is: “For the next 7 days I will keep a daily log of food I throw away, either because it went bad before I ate it, I put too much on my plate, or it was scraps from food preparation."
     
    Step 1: Keep track of your food waste.
    You can either make your own chart or print the following food waste diary:
    What to record:
    - which meals cause the most food waste?
    - what kind of food items are thrown out?
    - what amount of food was wasted?
    - how was the waste disposed of?
    - why are you throwing away this food?
    - estimate the value of the food you threw away.
     
    Step 2: Identify a pattern.
    Review your food waste diary regularly and try to understand why food gets thrown away in your household. Is it because you are buying too much food? Are you unsure about the best way to store perishables? Or are you making meals too big/ over-pouring beverages?
     
    Step 3: Strive to improve.
    Sit down with your family members and try to come up with ideas on how to reduce the amount of food waste. What strategies can you employ to minimize the food waste in your household? For example, making smaller meals, buying fewer perishables, planning meals in advance, learning how to use up leftovers, learning how to correctly store fruit and vegetables are just a few tactics to try.
     
    Thanks again for your participation! Your actions matter!

  • Julia Carlow's avatar
    Julia Carlow 4/05/2020 5:53 AM
    When I first moved to the UAE I quickly realized that I would need to buy a car to get around. This was the first time for me to buy a car, as before that I either lived in small cities where I could ride my bike everywhere or in really large cities where everything was accessible by public transport. For this week's Eco Challenge action,  I calculated that between, school runs, errands and the occasional trip to Dubai my family travels almost 500 km in our car per week. That is a lot! I wish there were better public transport options available in the UAE as I really do not enjoy spending this much time driving.