Food Waste

I’ve just come back from holiday in Cyprus and while I was there I really wanted to write an article on something that wound me up every day: food waste.

We had a fourteen day holiday and ate out all but one day. On average over the two weeks, the cost per head for supper was 15 Euros. The first night we went out to eat, I ordered carbonara and was presented with enough food for two people. I only ate a little over half and commented that there was enough for two in my bowl.

Next night I ordered chicken and got the largest piece of chicken fillet I have ever seen! …and a huge pile of chips. I must admit that I ate everything, but did feel uncomfortably full all night.

This trend continued for the entire two weeks. In fact every night it seemed to get worse. From the second night onward the restaurants we went to were giving away free dishes in order to win an extra point from the customers. One of the restaurants gave us an entire meze dish set and a complete green salad. We sent all of that back which they were surprised at. The waitress pointed out that it was on the house but we pointed out that it wasn’t going to be eaten.

The amount of meat we ate in two weeks was amazing. I’m pretty sure that in two weeks I ate the same amount of meat that I’d normally eat in 6 weeks. One night we had each ordered souvlaki. Each plate that arrived on the table had three skewers of meat and was about eight pieces in length. One would have been sufficient. We each ate two, but shouldn’t really have.

This is probably one of those rare times where I prefer the way we have it in the UK. When we order a meal, we tend to get the right amount of food for one person. There are rarely any extras which would go to waste or make people greedy; you get what you order.

Another thing that annoys me is buffets (this is particularly frustrating in hotels). The amount of food that people take and waste really annoys me! I can only guess that I’ve been brought up differently from most people, but when I go to a buffet, I take as much as I think I can eat and no more. After all, I can always go back up if necessary. We went out one evening and watched one table take twice as much food as they actually ended up eating. They did that for each of the three courses too!

Why are electric cars so expensive?

In our household we take recycling quite seriously. We recycle plastic types 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, cans, bottles, paper, cardboard, food waste and donate unwanted items to charity. We’re even looking in to getting solar panels for the roof so that we can make some money and reduce the amount of electricity we use form the grid.

When I bought my first car I did a lot of research in to what car I wanted to get. My choice was limited to what I could afford (up to £12k) and at the time there were relatively few electric vehicles available, unless you had a fortune spare.

My current job is over 40 miles away and I’ve had my current car for over 3 years now. Recently I looked in to purchasing a new car in order to reduce the depreciation in my current car, by giving it away to someone in the family who drives less than I do. So I looked at all the big manufacturers and a few of them were indicating that their electric cars were imminent (middle of 2010). I decided to hold off until this year and re-checked to see what was available.

The three main electric cars available at the moment (in my opinion) are:

Nissan Leaf – http://www.nissan.co.uk/leaf
The Nissan leaf starts at £25,990 after the government’s discount.

Mitsubishi iMiEV – http://www.mitsubishi-cars.co.uk/iMiEV
The Mitsubishi iMiEV starts at £23,990 after the government’s discount

Peugeot iOn – http://www.peugeot.co.uk/iOn
This one is only available on contract, starting at £415 + vat per month! Unbelievable… I cannot think why someone would be willing to pay that much per month for a car… My Kia cee’d was only £315 including vat for three years (after which I owned it!)

Ok, so, let’s look at how these cars stack up against my cee’d. My cee’d was £9900 on the road, but I paid using a loan which added another £700 roughly in interest. I’ve had it for three and a half years, but four services. Each service is in the region of £320. I’ve driven 40k miles and insured it three years and taxed it once. So the total cost is roughly:

£10,600 = car including loan
£320 x 4 = £1,280 – services
£120 = tax 1 year
£60 = ish MOT
£160 = front tyres every 25k miles
£160 = rear tyres every 50k miles

Petrol is a little harder to determine. I haven’t always driven well. For the first 2 years I averaged 31 mpg. For a year 38 mpg and for the last 14k miles, 45 mpg.

That adds up to roughly £5200* in petrol over three and a half years

Which means that in three and a half years it has cost me around £17,224. For each year on, assuming 8k miles 40mpg (which is no where near what I’m doing, but is average) @, it would cost around £1800.

Now in order to get to the price of the first car in the list, I’d have to own my car for another four years! That means I’d have owned my car for just over seven years, put around 72,000 miles on the clock, before I’ve even reached the price of the cheapest electrical car in the above list! Err… That doesn’t even make me want to buy one given those stats…

So my question is why are electric cars so expensive? It certainly seems to me that the car manufactures are deliberately pricing the cars to put people off buying them. Before you comment and say that the cost of technology, e.g. on the batteries is high, I just don’t believe that. GM released an electric car back in 96. Prices should have lowered since then and lessons learnt on technology.

* Calculations
14000 (miles) / 45 (mpg) * 4.55 (litres to the gallon) = 1415.56 litres * £1.20 (avg) = £1698
8000 / 38 (mpg) * 4.55 (litres to the gallon) = 957.89 litres * £1.00 (avg) = £957
18000 / 31 (mpg) * 4.55 (litres to the gallon) = 2641.93 litres * £0.95 (avg) = £2509