Bin your thoughts on sell by dates not the food

bindiveFOR A WHILE now, debates on whether people are too strict with their sell by dates have been staggered throughout the media. TV programmes on how to eat well for less are also appearing and society seems to be focusing on grocery expenditure. It’s about time too. Even students like us struggle to eat a healthy balanced diet on a small allowance, especially with fresh fruit and vegetables being so expensive. The regular beans/bread/ potato – is not healthy; it is not balanced. It is about time that the public started thinking about how they can cut down food expenses and eat healthier. Food waste costs Britain £18bn annually. One way of cutting down on this is making sure you use every item that you buy. This includes not throwing away perfectly good food. Some people are far too concerned about food being past a certain date rather than how it looks, smells or feels, and so end up wasting their money.

Too few of us are unsure of the signs food will naturally give us when it is unfit for consumption. Chicken will smell, eggs will float, milk will go lumpy and most fruit and veg will go soft. Instead of using our initiative and sparing perfectly good food from the bin, date stamps overrule our common sense. Of course not everything will show signs such as these, so it’s a matter of being clued up on the process that natural food goes through or the signs they will show when they are unfit for consumption. Thinking less about sell by dates and more about the actual state of the food would not only save money, but it would cut down on the amount of food thrown away each day as well. Businesses also throw away huge quantities of edible goods each day because they could not sell them or the sell by date has passed.

I’m not asking you to go full Freegan (getting free food from bins), just to be more frugal and think about what food your money could be best spent on. Freeganism has been popularised in America by eco-activist Adam Weissman as a reaction to waste. A handful of freegan York University students reported to the Independent last year that they often went bin dipping for their dinner. Bread, cakes, and vegetables are items that these freegans found in supermarket bins and are all good enough to eat. If you want to learn more about the movement, it is a simple Google away as bloggers have stepped up to try this new way of life.

freeganUnfortunately bin dipping is illegal in the UK, as companies are required to dispose of food they judge unfit for consumers. However with movements like freeganism on the rise, and a large homeless population, it is a wonder that legislation does not allow these companies to give away the fresh food that would only end up in landfill. Perhaps we should start focusing on what we can save, rather than coming up with new ideas or constantly expecting the best.