Fighting Food Waste: a story from the corner of your fridge 

Fighting Food Waste: a story from the corner of your fridge

Photo by Intan Pamungkas

Imagine you have just returned from your tiring afternoon class. You have just spent 15 minutes cycling to your housing complex and are hungry. Of course, you immediately think about cooking anything that can fill your stomach. When you open the refrigerator, you are stunned to see something in the corner of your refrigerator. A wilted piece of carrot, not fresh, sad, and gloomy even if it were not for its orange colour, you would not even know it was a carrot. You mutter, “All this time, how come I had a sad piece of carrot in the fridge?” Finally, you decide to throw the little sad carrot in the trash (at least ensure it is organic).  

You might think it is a small and trivial matter. But it would be unfortunate if you imagine that the same thing has also happened to other Wageningen University & Research (WUR) students. Thousands of students in Wageningen and even hundreds of thousands of students in the Netherlands do the same thing. The number of carrots thrown away may be equivalent to the production of several farms. Now, that is not only sad but also ironic.  

That is ironic considering that WUR has committed itself to reducing food waste by 50% in 2030. WUR found that consumers cause the biggest food waste in the Netherlands. According to the Dutch Nutrition Centre (Voedingscentrum), the average Dutch citizen threw away 33,4 kilograms of food in 2022. As a student and consumer, we play a significant role in reducing food waste.

So, how can you avoid having another sad carrot that gets forgotten in the corner of the fridge and then thrown away? Some things you can do to help with this are the following tips.  

1. Buy necessary food ingredients

You probably have walked the aisles of a supermarket and seen a wide selection of foodstuffs, packaged or not. Frequently, some items are cheaper if purchased in larger packages. Food packaged in one kilo is sometimes more affordable than buying two half-kilo boxes of the same food. So, you decide to buy food in one-kilo packages.   

The problem is, often you do not need that much food. Because until a week has passed, you have only used half of it, and chances are you will throw that much in the trash. Do you realize that you are not even more frugal this way? And do you know that things like this are even sadder than our friend the little carrot?  

Therefore, a wiser choice is to consider whether the amount you will buy is the amount you need. Will the amount of food be used up before it is time to go shopping again? By considering this, you have helped reduce the possibility of food waste appearing. It takes care of the earth as well as your wallet.  

2. Bring your food to FoodSharing Wageningen

Do you already know about FoodSharing Wageningen? Foodsharing Wageningen is part of the broader foodsharing network, which started in Germany in 2013. Their mission is to save and share food that would otherwise be thrown away, to raise awareness about food waste, and to propose easy solutions! FoodSharing Wageningen collects food (fruits, vegetables, bread, cooked meals, or other food products) from cooperating shops and organizes its distribution.   

They even have a platform on Facebook that allows all inhabitants of Wageningen to share food with others. If you have leftover foods, bring them to THUIS, where the community fridge is located. You need to put a message in the group to notify other people they can pick up food. This way, your leftover food will not turn into a sad little piece in the corner and be wasted. Hey, this means you can also get leftovers from other people if you are interested.  

If you are interested, the THUIS, where the community fridge is located, is in Stationsstraat 32, 6701 AM Wageningen. They are open Tuesday to Friday from 9 AM till 5 PM and on Saturday from 1 PM till 4 PM. Remember, sharing is caring.  

3. Wageningen has diverse cultural backgrounds, so why not try to make new food?

Wageningen is an excellent place with lots of different people from many countries. It is like a big mix of cultures and ideas because there are students worldwide. This mix makes Wageningen an exciting and fun place to be. And guess what? The food here is like a big adventure!  

Let us say you have some extra food hanging around and are unsure what to do with it. Wageningen is the perfect spot for turning that excess food into something awesome. It does not matter if you have leftover fruits, veggie scraps, nuts, or other food bits – you can try so many fantastic recipes from various places. It is like a treasure hunt for delicious dishes from all over the world.  

Imagine trying out recipes from faraway lands, mixing flavours and ingredients in your kitchen. You may discover a super tasty way to use those extra veggies, like a special recipe from Morocco or a delicious stir-fry from Asia. A whole world of food is waiting for you to explore right here in Wageningen.  

Wageningen is not just about classes and studies. It is also about sharing food and experiences with friends from all over. So, while figuring out what to do with your leftovers, you might stumble upon a recipe that becomes your absolute favourite. It is like a food adventure, and Wageningen is the perfect place to make it happen. Enjoy trying new recipes and savouring the incredible flavours that make Wageningen an awesome and unique community! 

Written by Edy Ridwanda Sembiring

Edited by Intan Pamungkas

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