As we continue to explore the details of food waste one term we use regularly is “unavoidable waste.” We define unavoidable waste as that part of the food that is inedible – trim, peel etc. While I suppose by the purest definition of waste this type of stuff is really unavoidable waste. I do wonder if we shouldn’t refer to it differently. I wonder if we might confuse the issue and almost justify food waste by allowing some of it to be unavoidable. While there are some things we can’t eat and should throw out (or compost or . . . )
The problem is that unavoidable is subjective. We will all agree that an apple core is not edible – well not all but I think its at least generally true that part of it should be discarded. How much is reasonable though? I’ve seen many different types of apple cores. peeling potatoes is the same thing. We can argue whether we should peel potatoes at all but then also could see differences in how much we remove.
Besides being an issue around definition (more of an academic problem) there is also an issue around achieving reductions. If its unavoidable then perhaps its OK – I don’t need to feel bad about it. Perhaps if we called it something else we would make it more clear that waste is unacceptable. We still have the issue of what goes where but I think we might make more progress if we define it differently.