Waste not, want not

Written by: Eureka! | Published:

That funny smell emerging from your fridge because there’s something tucked away there that’s been forgotten about for far, far too long is a familiar scenario for most of us. And all of us must have reached into the ironically-named ‘salad crisper’ only to discover that, far from being crisp, that lettuce we so fancied a few weeks ago has deliquesced into an alarming green porridge.

Taken as a whole, food wastage is a very serious problem. One-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. That’s a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes. To put that in context, every year, consumers in the world’s richest countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).

The challenge

This month’s Coffee Time Challenge is to avoid waste by finding a means of letting you know the condition of the food in your fridge without having to inspect it all. The important thing is that it stops us suffering any nasty surprises when we open the fridge.

It could be visual, it could be chemical, or it could even be olfactory. Just as long as it cuts down on waste.

The idea we have in mind will be revealed in the September issue of Eureka! Until then, see what you can come up with. Submit your ideas by leaving a comment on the Coffee Time Challenge section of the Eureka! website or by emailing the editor: paul.fanning@markallengroup.com


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Coffee Time Challenge is just a bit of fun, but it is based on a real engineering solution. If you send in your ideas by using the comment button below, we can add your solution as an alternative – perhaps something funny, practical, cheap or, of course, innovative.

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