We all do it. Food, fuel, money, time, and personal energy.
It’s close to impossible to live a completely waste-free life. I know, because I’m trying. Really hard.
I issued a “Waste No Food Challenge” for Non-Consumer Advocate readers in May because I was mortified with the amount of food I was buying, storing and then tossing. My home’s vegetable crisper had become nothing more than an air conditioned Slime-O-Tron 2000. (Patent pending at this time.)
The money spent, the resources wasted. Argh!!!
Even with my efforts at full-steam, I’m still wasting some food. Garlic that’s sprouted, food other people have brought to the house, cereal pushed to the back of the cupboard with little wiggling residents.
I compost, and madly tuck leftovers into new meals and freeze all I can. And yes, I’m even eating the frozen food. (I try hard to not delay waste by freezing food I have no intention of ever getting back to.)
So is it worth all my valiant efforts? If I’m trying my very best to not waste food, yet still doing it, should I give up?
I have gone from from thrice weekly grocery store trips to maybe once a week. Each trip that doesn’t happen translates to money saved, as the impulse food purchases are cut from the cycle.
We are wasting maybe 10% of what we were before the challenge, and eating healthier to boot.
I used to feel like I needed to buy more groceries when the fridge looked empty, but I realize that the cluttered fridge of the past was mostly leftovers that went to waste. I can now see what I have, so it’s easy to keep on top of eating up our food.
I have learned a lot about how to avoid food waste:
- Put out smaller servings, especially for kids. It’s okay to have seconds.
- It’s better to buy the specific amount of ingredients required for a meal. Even if that means paying a higher price per pound. There’s no savings if food gets thrown out.
- Choose smaller fruit. The huge apples and pears are more than we need.
- Post-ripe fruit can be frozen for yummy smoothies.
- Clear leftover containers help me to remember what I have available. This has been key, as I apparently am a see-it-to-believe-it kind of gal.
The Waste-No-Food challenge was officially a 30 day project, but I have no intentions to revert back to my wasteful ways.
Come join the challenge. You’ll save money, time shopping and most likely eat better. C’mon, it’ll be fun!
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”