How green is your loaf?

Every day in the UK, 20 million slices of bread are thrown away. That’s a terrifying amount of food waste and means that an average person here throws out more than half of a loaf of bread each month. I first ran into this statistic a few weeks ago and stopped to look at what happens in my own household. We buy a lot of reduced to clear food, so the things we bring home have a shorter life expectancy. We don’t have a fridge. Even so, we are definitely under average in the bread waste.

Some of the problem is, without a doubt, the bread itself. Buy a good quality loaf, and it may dry out as it gets old. You can toast it, or make bread pudding, or use it in cooking in some way and nothing is wasted. Cheaper loaves are much more likely to grow mould as they age – usually green, hence the title of the post. Once bread is mouldy, you can’t use it.

Timing is clearly important. There are three of us in the household, we can get through a loaf in a few days. For a single person, this is clearly less feasible. Obviously there are other bread products that can be bought in smaller quantities, but clearly not everyone chooses that, and these are not cheaper options, often. For a single person with little money, a very cheap loaf that ends up partly in the bin may still be the better financial choice, and that points at a great many things wrong with our society. People who can’t afford to eat well may be forced economically to make bad environmental choices.

Food waste is an area in which individual action can make a difference. Even so it’s important to remember that the option on individual action often comes with an element of financial privilege, and that we need better choices from government and business as well.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

7 responses to “How green is your loaf?

  • Ryan Cronin

    That’s an awful amount of waste. I know not everyone has a freezer, but I always freeze my bread. Half the loaf stays out for use, the other half keeps fresh in the freezer for about a month. Just defrost it overnight when you need the second half, and you’re good to go.

  • manonbicycle

    I bake my own by hand, not that time consuming at all. 10 minutes kneading, it looks after itself in the airing cupboard, while proving.

    I divide the dough into 4 small rounds, to make 4 small loaves and freeze in my fridges ice box (I don’t have a freezer). Rarely waste any bread.

    • Nimue Brown

      it’s a good way to go. I used to, but, lack of storage space, and a small flat where baking is unbearable for much of the summer and it happens less often than I’d like. Home made bread keeps super well.

  • Readerbythesea

    I find this with bags of carrots etc too. Actually cheaper to buy a huge bag than a small bag but then they rot before we get through them all.

  • Tan Harvey

    One of my granddads sayings “If we haven’t got any bread we’ll have to have toast” – meaning precisely the point you were making Nimue – proper bread will go stale, not green and you can still use it in some other form.

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