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  • Marie

Waste Management

Explaining how waste management works in Zug would be quite interesting to outsiders, especially if it involves describing how the good old Ökihof works (a hint here, it's the place where inhabitants need to sort and dispose of their waste). I promise, this will be the topic of a future post here.

In the meantime I would like to focus on food waste for a minute. In the United Arab Emirates, food waste was a growing topic of discussion in a country where responsible waste management is improving, but remains an issue (2.7 kilograms of food waste per person per day, number that doubles during the 40 days or Ramadan only. Food represents in Dubai almost 55% of this total waste). Working with hotels has also been an eye-opener, particularly those that offer ridiculously large all-day buffet options. The authorities have made food waste a priority for the coming years, and growing awareness among hotel management and staff has helped change certain habits and practices (e.g. serving by the plate rather than buffet, in-house development of green gardens...).

With the never-ending possibility to order food home at any time of the day, irrespective of quantities or price, I believe we didn't really pay attention to how much food waste we produced (and of course all things that come with your meal: plastic cuttlery wrapped in plastic, plastic straws, napkins, a new menu that you don't need because hey, you actually already have a few, and a can of soda). Keeping food fresh was also a challenge, so much ended in the regular waste bin.

Since we moved here though, we have been extra cautious about our habits. Obviously, the money factor is important: going out or ordering is very expensive, and while the service is often poor it has become clear that cooking home has been a lot better in terms of quality and taste. We have also improved our way to deal with left-overs or preparation waste. It has involved freezing things we can re-use, taking advantages of seasonal veggies for soups and broth, cooking with new things (lentils, chickpeas, coconut oil) or spices (cumin, curry).

The next step I started was to sort organic waste at home. The local waste system allows you already to sort regular waste (paid), carton, paper, some plastic containers, glass....but this one is an easy one to work on, as long as you get the proper paper compostable bags.

I started last week, so it's a little early to assess if it changes anything in our waste management system at home. Somehow, I expected food waste to be a large part of our sorting; however it seems that, as usual, we are stuck with plastic as biggest part, mainly packaging plastic. Another thing we will try to assess and fix on the long term.

And you, how do you manage food waste?

Reduction at source (better manage what you buy, how you cook) or bio-sorting/bio-compost?

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