Fighting small battles will help win the war on waste
4th March 2016
In order to achieve a circular and more resourceful future we, as individuals, need to challenge many of the small conventions present in our everyday lives.
In my view, making the transition to a more circular society in easy-to-manage, ‘bite-sized’ chunks is essential and will ensure that everyone in society comes along for the ride.
Take, for example, restaurant food waste. Some restaurant owners allow their customers to choose between a small, medium or large portion, while others provide just a single standard plate – in some cases far too large for all but the hungriest individuals to finish.
One could lay the blame for creating food waste at the door of the restaurants offering these single portion sizes, potentially providing food that a customer has no intention of eating, however, I believe that a small challenge to this convention by consumers would result in a huge win for society at no detriment to the restaurant sector.
For example, my wife usually has a smaller appetite than I do and often asks for a ‘child portion’ or ‘half portion’ when we visit restaurants. Very rarely is this a problem and sometimes we even pay less for it. My wife only gets the food she wants and the restaurant doesn’t have the subsequent food waste to dispose of. Who knows what other positive ramifications it may have? It may even mean that the restaurant doesn’t run out of a particular dish early and end up disappointing another customer?
Over time, if more people were to simply request smaller portions when they wanted them, more restaurants might see a case for putting dual portion sizes on their menus and gradually, we achieve societal change.
The same can apply in plenty of other situations, from ignoring buy-one-get-one-free offers unless necessary, all the way through to not picking up those free gifts at conferences and events that you don’t really need and will end up at the back of a draw.
As conscientious consumers, we just need to remember to challenge these conventions occasionally and think beyond the options we’re being presented with to get to the heart of what we really need. If we start consuming to our needs, rather than what we’re offered, business will adapt and we’ll see change on a major scale.Tweet