How much food do you waste?
As we settle into our waste-free journey, I am now more aware of just how much food we are wasting. I am now actively trying to reduce what we waste. It is not always easy, especially with younger kids but by making it a family effort we do seem to be making some big steps to reduce food waste in our home.
Like with everything, when it comes to trying to make a change, start small. Start with one small thing and then as you get more comfortable, add another small thing and before you know it the changes will become a way of life.
Buy what you need. This has made a huge difference in the amount of fresh food we waste. I used to grab whatever was on special but since switching over to our fruit and veg box, I order only what we need when we need it. Each week our fresh produce supplier shares a list of what is available, I ask the kids what they want and only order those fruits and veggies. But before I order I make sure that everything in the fridge is finished. This has helped to reduce the amount of fruit and veggies we throw in the compost.
Use leftovers. This was the cause of a lot of our waste. I would often not check what is the fridge and cook more rice instead of using the left over rice. Now I make sure I check the fridge first and will meal plan around what is in the fridge. Often it means that everyone has a little something different for lunch/dinner but it does get all the leftovers used up. If I cook a meal and I know there are going to be leftovers, I freeze the extra food immediately.
About 33 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gases are produced to grow food that never gets eaten.
Make a veggie sauce. When I see veggies are reaching their expiration I throw them all in a big stock pot, add some tomatoes and make a big veggie sauce. It is better than adding in tinned tomatoes and without fail my kids comment on how delicious the meal is without even realising that it is jam-packed with veggies. If you have a large batch, keep some in the fridge and freeze the rest in ice-cube trays.
Compost. Composting doesn’t reduce the amount of waste you produce but it does reduce the amount of waste you are sending to landfill which is always a win. So the goals should always be to reduce but there will be waste, so add that to a compost heap.
Check for substitutes. Last year I wanted to bake something with buttermilk so I searched for substitutes for buttermilk and the first result that popped up was how to make buttermilk with milk and vinegar – I had both of those things and now never actually buy buttermilk. I am pretty sure you could find a substitute for just about anything!
Store food correctly. A lot of food gets wasted because it is not stored properly – cheese is left unwrapped, veggies shrivel up, rice cakes go soft etc. Store your dry goods in airtight containers so that they don’t go stale quickly. Cover food in the fridge properly and store veggies correctly.
Whether you do one of these or all of them, it will make a difference. So start with the one that seems the easiest and work from there.