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On the War on Waste and being Vegan

Dear Beagle Editor, I recently watched with self righteous pleasure (I own a keepcup) the War on Waste. I do lead a pretty spartan lifestyle (now called minimalism) compared to most of my peers who are approaching early retirement. Perhaps this was driven by the lack of resources over the years, but I’d like to think my ‘green leanings’ would have gotten me to this point anyway. I despair at the amount of plastic packaging still used – a great example being the small packets of ‘food’ still being put in children’s lunchboxes each day.

Then it occurred to me, a committed vegan, that I was doing what many meat eaters do when introduced to me. “I don’t eat much meat and we aim to have a completely meat free day as much as once a week!”

Cue applause ……I always miss my cues in life…. I just look blankly at them waiting for them to say something interesting or at least relatable. I have never asked a person “how much meat do you eat a week?” I don’t feel obliged to pass judgement. It’s really up to you and your body to do that. But that is what I’m faced with time and again when I meet someone for the first time. As much as the joke goes – how do you know someone is Vegan, they’ll tell you. I wish someone would add – how do you know how much flesh a meat eater eats – they’ll tell you once they’ve discovered you’re Vegan!

I have to chuckle to myself when people tell me they have to eat fish because their body is telling them to – you know for the protein and healthy fats. Yeah, with a decent serving of plastic and heavy metals. Spot the Vegan with the air of superiority!

Which brings me back to the War on Waste. Do I live plastic free? Most definitely not. Do I recycle where I can? Sure. Do I feel the need to recount every time I use plastic to show how environmentally aware I am? Cringe. Maybe. Did I mention I own a keepcup? I can tell you how I would support those bulk food shops if they were more affordable. I don’t use foil bases in my vegan pie business. When supplying pies to private customers, I wrap my babies in brown paper that can be recycled or composted. I choose Australian made products over countries with less stringent food production regulations. I aim to reduce food miles by buying locally grown fruit and veggies. I bring my own shopping bags – OK sometimes they get left in the car – but that’s only sometimes. Why are you glazing over. Why haven’t you told me how every little bit helps? Oh, right you have two years worth of rubbish in a small mason jar. Don’t judge me – I’m Vegan – the ultimate environmentalist, right?

I guess the moral of the story is that we are all trying. Some more than others, but as long as we are mindful and encouraging each other to do better, that has to be a good thing. Consumer demands do lead to what is produced such as those little packets of goodies for children’s lunchboxes. Are we lead by our noses by advertising promising us more spare time, a better looking body and more friends?

I was, like many of you, outraged by the waste of fruit and vegetables shown on the War on Waste. It would be interesting to dissect the meat industry in a similar way. Does the same thing happen there? I would love to see a breakdown of environmental impact, resources used, what the farmers get and is there waste as customer demands change? Does every tray of meat offered at supermarkets get sold? If taken off the shelf, where does it go? I haven’t seen any footage of dumpster divers finding meat that has been thrown out. I know there are more and more vegan documentaries being made, but shouldn’t mainstream media be sharing this type of information too in a form palatable to the broader Australian community? ABC TV – challenge issued!

Trish Quinn

Trish’s Vegan Pies


Note: If you would like to support locally made vegan food – you may like to pledge to Trish’s Vegan Pies crowdfunding campaign for a purpose built kitchen. More information available on her facebook page or on the Pozible site

#Food #Opinion