By Rose Barrett
A Dublin family taking part in RTE’s What Planet Are You On? has been left shocked at its dismal score for environmental efforts.
The Yeboahs from Kinsealy volunteered to let cameras follow their every move, tracking their shopping, food intake, water consumption, and energy and fuel usage.
Mum Denise O’Connor was mortified when the experts reviewed their first week and told the family of four they scored 1 out of 10 for their environmental efforts.
She told Dublin Gazette: “We realised we consumed meat 30% over the norm. My husband Fred was eating enough for 30 people – that was a major shock.
“Another big issue was our waste disposal. We don’t have a brown bin – I was throwing food waste into the general waste bin. Our bins were examined and they found a small bag of potatoes and lots of cooked food thrown out.
“I was cooking food for the children – which was never eaten – I’d scrape the plates into the kitchen bin which ended up in the refuse bin.
“We emptied the contents of the fridge; I was purchasing far too much: salad goods, processed meats. I am a proponent of the ‘Buy 1, Get 1 Free’ but all I was doing was throwing the second packet out.”
Denise was encouraged to buy less and only cook meals which she knew Annabelle, 9, and five-year-old George would eat.
She continued: “We were a disaster too with our water consumption. I love my long baths but when I saw the impact it was having on our carbon footprint, it was a habit I had to break.
“Baths were my relaxation, now I walk, listen to music or read and have a shower, It was just a matter of redressing my form of relaxation.
“Fred found reducing the meat consumption really hard, we needed to get help from the dietician here. Initially he felt weak and got headaches. We learned to replace meats with high protein, lentils and beans.
“Fred went back to his traditional roots from his native Ghana and started cooking pulses, beans, stews and lentils which are equally good for energy and strength.”
The family now use compostable bags for veg and fruit shopping and have greatly reduced their weekly shop, opting for recyclable packaging.
The final episode of ‘What Planet Are You On?’ is on RTÉ One this Sunday at 6.30pm.