Like everyone else, I’ve read the statistics – up to a third of food that we buy ends up in the bin. It’s not good – it’s a waste of money and it’s bad for the environment. Anything that helps to cut down on food waste has to be a good thing, right? So when I was asked if I’d like to try Obeo food waste boxes, I was very interested.
What are Obeo boxes?
The boxes (they are like sturdy bags) are made of compostable materials and come in packs of five. You sit one on your counter, and use if for your food waste. When it’s full, you put the entire bag and its contents in your brown bin – simple.
Which means you can use your organic bin, without the problem of putting loose food into it, and cleaning it, and dealing with unmentionable things that feed on rotting waste.
The Obeo box looks good – sitting quietly and discreetly on the counter – and it doesn’t take up much space. You can close it while it’s on your worktop so that you’re not looking at carrot peel and bread crusts but even if you leave it open, the design is such that you don’t see what’s inside. Because really, environmentally friendly though it may be, nobody wants to look at congealing meat juices seeping into tea-bags and uneaten porridge.
What can you put in Obeo boxes?
When it comes to food waste – almost anything! Meat, fish, dairy, bread, cake, eggs, plate scrapings of any kind and tea-bags. The box shows exactly what you can put in, which is handy for the newbie who isn’t sure what is compostable and what is not.
How long do they last?
One box should last two to three days. In my house they lasted just 24 hours. I am learning a lot about food waste…
How much are they?
A pack of five boxes is €3.75 plus €2 p&p. For a two month supply of twenty boxes, you pay €15 plus €2 p&p. So, there is a small investment in this attempt to be more environmentally friendly, but on the other side, brown bin collections are cheaper than black bin, so it might even out (I’d have to use them for longer to see if that’s the case)
Why would you use them?
First and foremost, to be friendlier to the environment. Best described on the Obeo website:
“By using Obeo to separate your kitchen food waste you can prevent food waste going to landfill. When food waste is sent to landfill, it rots and releases the harmful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere and causes leachate which pollutes our rivers and soils”
The organic (brown) bin contents are turned into compost here in Ireland, and sold to farmers and gardeners, to continue the food of growing and recycling food. So it’s all good for the environment.
But beyond that, I found that using them helped me to be more aware of food waste and more conscious of recycling in general. I was fascinated by how much of our food waste could go into the boxes instead of the black bin, and I confess it was and still is a novelty. It has made me much more conscious of how much food we waste.
And honestly, we’re not terrible when it comes to waste – I meal-plan every week and only buy what we need for those meals. But still, especially with three small kids, there is waste. A second bowl of porridge left unfinished, a quarter tub of cream cheese that’s looking queasy, the last few slices of bread – there’s only so many bags of breadcrumbs I can fit in the freezer. So with the best will in the world, I don’t think I can reduce food waste to zero.
But having the Obeo box on the counter made me think about it all more than ever before, and I really wanted to avoid filling it up unnecessarily – so I did look for ways to use leftover food rather than throwing it out (don’t worry – not the gone off cream cheese).
It also improved my green-bin efforts; I’m guilty of occasionally ditching an almost empty carton into the black bin, instead of emptying and rinsing. The presence of the Obeo box is spurring me to empty, scrape, rinse and separate like never before. We’ll see how long this enthusiasm lasts, but so far I’m feeling very green.
And on top of all that, Obeo was founded by two Irish women – Kate and Liz – if there’s an option to buy something from an Irish start-up over a giant corporate, I’m sold.
So all in all, a huge (green) thumbs up for Obeo – long may this enthusiasm continue.
If you’d like to try them for yourself, just comment below, retweet, or comment on the Office Mum Facebook page to enter a draw – Kate and Liz will send the winner a two month supply of Obeo boxes. I’ll draw a winner on Tuesday December 9th.