Eco Comment – Lists, Lists and More Lists.

20 December 2023

Do you write lists for yourself? I know many people do. I’ve tried it as a way of being more productive and as a time management procedure. It didn’t work. My lists are invariably in my head. When I tried writing lists I would find myself getting cross at the time it took writing the list instead of just doing the task. This changes at Christmas though. Maybe it’s a belt-and-braces management thing but I find myself writing lists of people that I send cards to, people I buy presents for and even a food shopping list! What makes us all so determined to ‘do’ Christmas with no mistakes, ensuring that there are no forgotten things or people?

I think for many its because not only do they not want to forget anything or anyone, but also because they, or rather we, don’t want to waste things. If we buy a gift for someone, we want to think that that someone will use it or enjoy it. We don’t want to buy something that is irrelevant or wasteful. Writing a list is a means of thinking about that person and ensuring that the gift meets a criteria be it with regards to cost or content. The same goes for food shopping. The number of people we’re catering for is probably decided in advance. For management purposes the number of meals to be catered for and everything necessary for the planned menu has to be bought in advance of the day. So a list is made. Some people do it weeks, if not months in advance, especially if they’re wanting a prime supermarket delivery slot. I tend to buy or stock up a little at a time for non-date-sensitive items and then perishable things are bought a few days before. If you have a list and stick to it, you’re not tempted to buy extra things. Or do you succumb? If you’re working to a budget it’s possibly easier to stick to your list. If you’re paying with cash it’s definitely a necessity. If we only buy what we need, we cut down on waste. This is particularly so with food.

This year, even more than previously, I have made a conscious effort to use every item of fresh food that I buy. I can’t bear the thought of throwing things away. This can be difficult, but it is possible. There have been various charity fund raisers this year – which I’ve seen on social media – used as incentives to encourage people to rethink their eating and buying habits. There are many recipes for using up left over foods, so there should be no excuse for having to throw food away. But data shows that the UK throws away 9.5 million tons of food in a single year, even though 8.4 million people in the UK are in food poverty. Over 3 million tonnes of food wasted across the food industry each year is good to eat when it’s discarded, enough to make an estimated 7 billion meals. Experts estimate that the financial consequences, excluding fish and seafood, amount to approximately £770 billion globally and in the UK the annual cost is estimated to reach as high as £19 billion. This includes household waste, hospitality and food service, manufacturing, retail and wholesale sectors. (22.11.23
What happens to food waste and how it affects our world is the subject for another day, but my plea to you this Christmas is to buy sensibly, eat well and be creative in your kitchens. Have a wonderful time over this festive season and I’ll be back in the New Year with news of the Eco Groups plans for being even more sustainable and becoming a Silver Award Eco Church.

Happy Christmas to you all and if you wanted to explore other culinary delights, the Cathedral Book Group will be discussing ‘Lessons in Chemistry’ by Bonnie Garmus at our January meeting. New members are always warmly welcomed.

Susan Morgan
Eco Group

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