On Tuesday 17 December, the Royal Danish Embassy in Bangkok organised an event featuring how to successfully utilise leftover food. The event was held at The Bangkok Screening Room in corporation with Scholars of Sustenance and The Sukhothai Bangkok hotel. The event formed a green circle with a minimum of waste and a maximum of inspiration.
With a new year and a new decade approaching rapidly, now is the time to reflect upon the choices made and wishes for the future. One thing most people can agree on is that the world has been howling for climate change in 2019.
Uffe Wolffhechel, Danish Ambassador to Thailand, welcomed the guests in the afternoon and enthusiastically revealed the program of the night.
First on the program was a screening of the documentary Wasted! The story about food waste. Rather than displaying that the world is doomed, the movie is an examination of the progress made and the solutions available.
For most people there is nothing as uninspiring as opening a half-empty fridge and it is almost impossible to make something delicious out of leftovers. But as the chefs in the documentary reveal, it is hard for anyone to be creative when being paralyzed with all the choices in the world all the time.
As the message from the movie was slowly sinking in, the founder of SOS (Scholars of Sustenance) Bo Holmgreen gave an inspirational talk on the same topic. He determinedly asked the audience to remember the numbers 10, 7 and 1.
If combining all the food in the world, there would be enough to feed ten billion people. Seven is how many billion people actually live on the planet. One billion is the number of people going to sleep hungry every night.
Hotel took on the challenge
One of the biggest food waste sinners is the tourist industry. Therefore, the Danish Embassy wanted to engage them in the project. The chef at the Sukhothai hotel, Asker Skaarup Bay, decided to join the event and create a rescued menu.
Three chefs from the hotel showed up and, on location, prepared a variety of both Thai and Western dishes out of food they would never have been able to serve at their own restaurant. However, the delicious result amazed the approximately fifty guests.
The ugly truth
What came as a surprise for many of the guests that night after seeing both the documentary and the talk is that food loss and waste accounts for about 4.4 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
If food loss and waste were its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter after USA and China. One third of all foods are never eaten – and 90 percent of the wasted food ends up in landfills, causing environmental damage.
Therefore, the embassy had also invited the company Oklin which brought along a compost machine designed to make food into healthy soil that can benefit agriculture.
It was the cherry on top of the event that the leftovers from the rescued menu were put into the machine.