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Food

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Eat up

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Water

Water is a precious resource used throughout the food production process. Each person throws away the equivalent of 280 litres of water a day with the food they bin.5 That’s double the amount of water the average household uses every day.

Money

A bargain is only a bargain if you need it, as Mum always said. The “3 for £5” special offer on the strawberries is no good if the berries are going to end up forgotten and rotten. Spending money on something you’ll never use is pretty pointless.
Collectively, the UK squanders £12 billion on never-to-be-munched-on food.6

How?

Here are some top tips of our own:

  • Plan ahead and write a shopping list.

  • Don’t fall for bulk offers.

  • Prepare adequate portions.

  • Freeze your leftovers.

  • Be creative and use up the leftovers - why not turn those squishy bananas into a lovely milkshake?

  • Share with your housemates or bring leftovers into work for lunch

  • Store food properly. Bread in the fridge will go off, while most fruit will like it there.

  • Trust your senses. Remember that ‘best before’ dates mean exactly that – they’re best before, but they’re ok after too.

Love Food Hate Waste is a great source of simple advice on how to store your food and also allows you to look for tasty recipes with the ingredients you already have.

Want to do this action? Head over to our list of Doers and make your pledge!

1 - www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

2 - Tristram Stuart 2009

3, 6 - WRAP

4,5 - WRAP/WWF 2011

Fish food

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Environment

The fuel-intensive techniques mentioned above are also the ones that cause the most direct damage to the marine environment. Over 300,000 small whales, dolphins, and porpoises die from entanglement in fishing nets each year and over 250,000 endangered loggerhead turtles and critically endangered leatherback turtles are caught annually on longlines set for tuna, swordfish, and other fish.

Thousands more are killed in shrimp trawls[1].

The beams and nets also leave a wake of destruction on the seabed, razing entire habitats including rare deep sea coral and sponge ecosystems that take decades to millennia to develop.

Finally, overfishing is a huge problem that is only going to increase as populations increase in size and wealth.

86%

reduction seen in cod stocks over the last century, and Bluefin tuna is now at risk of extinction.

How?

The Marine Stewardship Council and Marine Conservation Society have a wealth of information on eating the tastiest and most sustainable fish around, but to save you trawling (pun intended) too much for information, we’ve created our own list of top tips:

  1. Always ask how your fish was caught. If the answer is dredging or bottom trawling or beam trawling, don’t buy it.
  2. Buy local, seasonal fish. It will have a smaller carbon footprint and is usually cheaper. Mackerel is a good option as it has all the health benefits and there’s plenty of it all year round.
  3. Find a friendly fishmonger who sources their fish from sustainable fisheries. They’ll be able to tell you what’s in season and what’s good to try for the first time. They might even be able to give you some recipes tips too!
  4. If shopping in a supermarket, go to one that invests in sustainable fishing. Greenpeace ranked supermarkets on the sustainability of their seafood in 2006: Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s came top. Iceland was at the bottom.
  5. For advice when you’re on the move, the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide iPhone app is great.

Want to do this action? Head over to our list of Doers to find someone to pledge for.

This DoAction was created by Katie Turner and Kate Monson

[1] http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/globalmarkets/fishing/bycatch.html

Do diet

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This one’s simple, obvious, and all-round good, but notoriously tough: cut the calories. It’s all about eating less of those naughty, addictive, indulgent treats: whether your particular vice is chocolate, crisps, cheese or doughnuts, it's gotta go.

Health

This is pretty obvious….

Cheese, chocolate, crisps, pastries and fizzy drinks – they may be good for the taste buds, but they’re not too good for the rest of your body. They’re full of bad fats and calories that will pile on around your waist.

But it’s not just about putting on a few pounds - they also increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke, amongst other nasty diseases.

Carbon

Everything has a carbon footprint, so excess of any kind leads to unnecessary carbon emissions. Cheese is a particularly guilty one because of all those methane-belching cows – 12 kgCO2e are released in the production of 1 kg hard cheese.

480,000

tCO2 is the annual footprint of the UK’s crisp eating addiction

How?

This couldn’t be more straightforward: pick your particular vice, and then cut it out!

But remember, this DoAction is about cutting something out, not swapping it. The key is not to substitute your treats with more treats… 

Want to do this action? Head over to our list of Doers to find someone to pledge for.

[1] The Guardian

[2] The Guardian

Eat seasonably

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The DoNation Eat seasonably DoAction - tasty local seasonal vegetables

Add some seasonal variety to your diet, enjoy the fresh tastiness of local food and dramatically slim down your carbon footprint.

How?

One simple way to always make sure you get your seasonal veggies is to sign up to a veg box. Riverford provide organic veg boxes which can come in a variety of different sizes depending on your household.

We also recommend a few cookbooks to help make things interesting as you cook up a vegetarian storm. Our friends at Beetroot Books have also been nice enough to give our users a 15% discount on the following titles. Just type the code 'Beet19' when you get to the checkout:

   

 

 

Want to do this action? Head over to our list of Doers to find someone to pledge for.

Got other tips or great resources to share? Please email them over to us at info@thedonation.org.uk

1 - Berners-Lee, M (2010) How Bad Are Bananas?

2 - Wholesome nutrition- a suitable diet for the new nutrition science project

Feed the earth

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The DoNation feed the earth - composter wormery

It’s easy, free and natural, it entertains the kids and delights the garden-lovers, helps the wiggly worms to thrive, the flowers to blossom, and the nutritious veg to grow.

Biodiversity

This bit’s obvious: compost helps things to grow. It improves the health of your plants while reducing the need for water and artificial fertilisers. Compost heaps themselves are a great way to attract wildlife, worms, slugs, hedgehogs, birds, lizards, the lot!5

The peat bogs from which shop-bought compost comes are hugely rich and diverse habitats, housing many rare and protected plants and animals.  They’re being destroyed by the recent craze for peat-based fertilisers, endangering these species yet further.

Money

With landfill taxes on the up and council budgets on the down, composting your organic waste is a great way to help your council save money for the things that really need it.

A bag of compost also costs you about £7 a pop, so by making your own you could treat yourself to a few extra bulbs next winter.

How?

Composting can be done in a number of ways, the best option depends on how much space you have.

  • Traditional compost heaps are the winner if you have a garden; check out RecycleNow’s advice on home composting here.
  • Wormeries are small, smell-free, and create rich compost in a matter of months. You can keep them inside or out – don’t worry, the worms can’t escape! Many councils offer discounts on wormeries and compost bins, contact yours to see if they have a scheme.
  • Bokashi is a new composting method, using microorganisms to break down your food waste (including meat and fish) at a supercharged speed. Best of all, it is totally hygienic and can be kept safely in your kitchen.
  • Council collections of compost are becoming more and more common, use the RecycleNow site to check what services your local council offers.

The DoNation feed the earth - composter wormery

The important thing is to do it right! It’s not hard, but if you don’t tend to your compost heap correctly and let it rot away it could be causing more harm than good.

Want to do this action? Head over to our list of Doers to find someone to pledge for.

Got other tips or great resources to share? Please email them over to us at info@thedonation.org.uk

1 - Paula Owen Consulting

2 - lga.gov

3 - recycledevon.org

4 - Guardian.co.uk

5 - BBC - breathing places

Tea time

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The DoNation - Tea Time -- water mark on kettle

30 million

litres of water are boiled every day in the UK only to go cold again

Climate change

Pretty straightforward really: unnecessary boiling = wasted electricity = easily avoidable carbon emissions.

How?

It’s not rocket science, just fill the kettle with what you need.

  • Do the tea call before you boil – check how many people you’re making for (and pick up brownie points while you’re at it).

  • To save you measuring the cup each time, why not draw a marker on your kettle (if it doesn’t already have one) showing how much is needed to fill your favourite mug?

  • Buy a energy efficient kettle making it nice and easy for you to only boil enough water for what you need. We recommend this Philips kettle (just to give you some help in the right direction).

Want to do this action? Head over to our list of Doers to find someone to pledge for.

Got other tips or great resources to share? Please email them over to us at info@thedonation.org.uk

Veg out

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Deforestation

More meat eating means more agricultural land needed.  We can’t make land any more, so we clear it.

The primary cause of tropical deforestation is agriculture.2  Aside from the staggering greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation leads to a whole host of problems. It displaces local communities, causes social unrest and corruption, disturbs rainfall patterns, increases flood risks, contaminates rivers and endangers native species.

Basically, it’s bad news.

How?

You needn’t become a die-hard vegetarian, but going meat-free for a few days isn’t too tough. And on when you do have a meaty treat, why not use the money you’ve saved on buying some free-range or organic meat, or experiment with some less well used cuts? There’s more to life than chicken breast and stewing steak.

Cooking up a good vegetarian meal requires some imagination but a good vegetarian dish can be fantastic, nutritious, bursting with flavours and cheap too. 

  • Yotam Ottolenghi’s incredible cooking column in the Guardian, The New Vegetarian, is a tasty source of inspiration.
  • There are also some brilliant cookbooks that may help you forget about meat altogether! Click on the images below to check them out.

We also recommend a few cookbooks to help make things interesting as you cook up a vegetarian storm. Our friends at Beetroot Books have also been nice enough to give our users a 15% discount on the following titles. Just type the code 'Beet19' when you get to the checkout:

     

To make the transition that bit easier, why not have your fresh veg delivered to your doorstep? Organic veg box schemes like Riverford, Abel & Cole, and many more provide variety of great vegetables in different amounts depending on your household.

You could even start growing your own, get some great advice from Guardian Life & Style website.

Want to do this action? Head over to our list of Doers to find someone to pledge for.

Got other tips or great resources to share? Please email them over to us at info@thedonation.org.uk

1 - Livestocks Long Shadow - FAO
2 - NASA Earth Observatory