Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No Waste Challenge

I have to say I am guilty of having waste. As frugal and thrifty as I am, I still somehow have food waste. Guilt comes to mind first of all when physically throw the food away. I think about how I could of used or it should of prepared it for freezing. If you think about it, all this waste adds up. I paid for each of those items that I threw in the trash. Makes me sick. Bad bad me! Onto my next challenge!


What is a no waste challenge? Well basically its you being held accountable for what you waste. No one is perfect so just try your best to reduce your waste. Waste from your food, home, and everyday life is the goal. From cutting back on your garbage, to having no left over food go bad. Its all game in this challenge. One way of being held accountable is to take pictures. This is my way of encouraging myself. This should keep me from having any waste. I not only have to prove I can do this to myself but I have all of you. This should be interesting.....

To help you out, I have come up with some ways to cut back on waste. Read and get inspired.

Menu planning-I am horrible when it comes to this idea. I do not like to plan my meals because most of our meals are made from mark down food or things I have been given. Its really hard to plan meals when you do this. Example: My great friend gave us some mandarin oranges that needed to be used up. My girls ate these with meals for 2 days. No waste there! Another time I bought a ton of yogurt from Albertsons for almost free. So we ate a ton of yogurt for a few days. See what I mean? Yes this is a good idea, but I know myself too well and its not gonna stick. I will give it a try though.

Leftovers to new meals. Since all of my daughters are vegetarians, I usually have any meat/meat substitutes separate from the rest of the meal which makes it easy to reuse them. I can simply plan my next days meal around the left over meat/substitute. Yesterdays corn can be used to make today's soup. Yesterdays left over almond pulp from making my own almond milk can be used in the next days bread that I make. Even if its just a few tablespoons of food, you can reuse it the next day. Just get creative.

Portions. Remember this when your cooking. If you do not like to eat left overs, then you need to have smaller portions. I would encourage you not to make large batches of things unless its some sort of easy to reheat food. Chili for example is a great food to make a ton and eat left overs for a few days. Or you can simply put into meal size portions and freeze it. Chili is amazing the 2nd time around. Better if you ask me! Things like too much fried foods (we do not fry because of this and its too unhealthy) are not very good the second time around. Remember this and make just enough for you to eat that night.

Fridge-Always check your fridge first before you start planning your meal. That left over containers, figure out a way to use it again. Onion getting old, use it up. Celery getting rubbery, plan your meal around it.

Is it waste? When your making your meal, save any veggie peelings you might have left over. Since I have vegetarians in my home, I'm always preparing veggies and have peelings or cut off ends that I'm throwing in the compost. Well Ive started making broth from them and then throwing them in the compost. I'm getting 3 uses from my veggies. 1. healthy produce to make my meals from. 2. veggie peelings for veggie stock. 3. Great composted items. I simply keep all peelings, and end pieces aside, then prepare and eat our meal. After dinner I go throw them into a pan with water to cover heat to a simmer. I do my dishes and clean up the kitchen for about 15-20 minutes. Once done I simply turn off the burner and let sit until cool. Strain out veggies and throw into the compost container. Put broth into a container, label it and put it in the freezer. I use this broth in making rice, adds a yummy touch to it.

Compost-All food that is not dairy or meat is thrown into the compost bin. Left over food scraps, grass clippings, twigs, weeds, etc. Compost is the best thing for your garden and even better when its free! Your garden will thank you later with amazing produce. Have no compost? Simple garbage bin with a lid will work. Just drill some holes all over it (even the bottom) and set it somewhere near the kitchen outside so you can access it easily all year long. Just keep adding things to it, you would be amazed how it wont fill up. Remember to roll it or mix it every once in a while so it can do its job composting. That's really all you need to do.

Shopping-Remember to not buy more than you can use up. Especially when it comes to things you cannot freeze or store for a long period of time. Things like avocado's, green onions, and things like that. These really cannot be put in the freezer and have to be used fresh. But things like potato's, onions and hardy veggies can be stored for a long time. Celery, carrots, potatoes and onions are a staple in our home. They last a long time in the fridge or stored in a cold dark place.

Storage-When you go shopping and come home to put it away, remember to pull forward food you did not run out of. New milk needs put behind the already opened milk. New container of eggs, put under the already opened eggs. Etc. This way you will always use up the older stuff first and not waste any of it. Same goes for the pantry! I buy a ton of flour so new flour goes behind the flour already in the pantry. Dried fruit can get too hard to use after a while so remember to use up those then buy more. Any time I need to use up my dehydrated fruit, muffins are made.

List-Always go through your fridge, cabinets and pantry before you go shopping. Put all food that needs to be used first up in front for you to see. Clean and organize a little while your doing this. If you notice something your out of or almost out of, write it on the list. This might take you a while but worth it. I just get angry when I buy something and go to put it away to only find I already have it. Especially when its something I do not use very fast. Ive done this so many times with vegetable oil. Rarely do I use it so it just makes me angry. UUrrrr.

Be honest-Either write it down or take pictures of anything you waste. I will be taking pictures (shreek) to hold myself accountable. Write what the item is and how much you actually paid for it. Not how much its worth. Either choice you make do it and it will challenge you to be more diligent. At the end of the month add up all your waste and I promise you that you will be more diligent.

So you up for the challenge? My challenge is from today-1 year from now. Join me!

1 comment:

mrs green @ myzerowaste.com said...

I'm so excited to read about your challenge; well done you! You've come up with some great tips. Personally I find menu planning doesn't work for me, but I can be creative with leftovers and think up meals on the spot. You're so right about portion control too. Many of us have no idea how much to cook. Are you familiar with the Love FOod Hate Waste website? There are some good tips on there for proper food storage, portion size and using up leftovers. Good luck with your challenge!

Warm wishes
Mrs green