Dealing with the matter of Food Waste…

English: fresh fruit salad

 I am horrified to learn that we throw away fresh fruit that is the equivalent of 4 million apples a day… yes a day in the UK and 37 million slices of bread.

 Not only is it a waste of food and energy producing it but it is like throwing money away.  I bet most people, me included, would find it hard to put a £5 note in the bin but I know that we have probably, over the course of last year, contributed to the waste mountain, maybe not in fresh fruit and bread but definitely because of foods going out of date or perishing before we can use them.  This is partly due to overbuying in the first place because I, like many others I suspect, shop for the week rather than each day and I have to estimate how much food we are going to need and what I might cook in the evenings.  If I am detained at work or hubby is away on business suddenly all my plans can change and this is where we can be left with unused items.

Of course bad planning of meals such as buying salad for one meal and then finding it has perished 2 days later and also having to buy in quantities larger than I need is another reason.  When I only want one courgette I have to buy a pack of 3 if I insist on buying organic.  Organic veg at Sainsbury’s usually comes packaged so that it doesn’t get mixed in with the ordinary.

I also have a bad habit of buying things ready to make something that I then never find time to do.  I bought Buckwheat flour to make pancakes when I got my new pancake pan – both lie in the cupboard unopened and unused – if it were a crime I would now be locked up!

One of my disappointments is that supermarkets continue to charge proportionately more for smaller quantities like a small tin of Baked Beans, half a dozen eggs, a small jar of Mayonnaise etc but in an effort to reduce food waste I may just have to buy smaller amounts where possible or find a food buddy to take half the contents and split the costs of a larger quantity.

This was an interesting article I found about food waste

  And then there is…The Food Dilemma – healthy eating verses the love of baking

 As I seem to have a split personality for most things – the area of food is no different.

 Take for instance the problem that I have over baking and making puddings.  I love baking and trying new recipes (and quite like eating the end results!)  but on the other hand too many cakes and buns are not healthy and I rarely get the time these days.  I always mean to get down to doing things but somehow never do.

 My ‘baking cupboard’ consists of different sugars – soft brown, Demerara, castor and icing sugars.  I also have treacle and Golden Syrup, Mincemeat, Glace Cherries and Ginger, Coconut, Oatmeal and white, dark and milk bars of chocolate as well as chocolate chips and sprinkles.  There is also a container where I keep opened bags of various fruits and another for nuts.

Most of these items, except the nuts, I use mainly at Christmas and birthdays but I would like to try my hand at baking cakes etc to give as gifts.  I have already made chocolates and mince pies at Christmas for presents but doing more throughout the year would be a good way of solving the present dilemma of what to buy those people who have everything.

I am also thinking that I could bake items that freeze well and then take them with us throughout the year on our out and about weekends.  Then we can get out our trusty little picnic stove and have a drink and afternoon tea!

Well tomorrow I will be writing about my big post Christmas clear-out in the Kitchen cupboards and what I found.  I intend to use this blog as a log just to see if I get any better by the end of the year at reducing waste.

Already I have identified items that need to be used straight away and have based this weeks meals around them.  I spent £36.83 in Sainsbury’s buying fresh food, dairy foods and bread which includes food to take for my lunches as well as one or two items we needed to restock such as salt and a pair of Rubber Gloves (I use the worn ones with holes for gardening)…and yes I do resemble Margo in them!

In all I saved £1.20 on the offers and used a Double Points coupon earning 82 extra points.

As well as my weekly shop I am going to be very stringent about the cash I use during the week for bits and pieces.  I know I will not be able to survive on a £1 a day or anything like but I have only withdrawn £10 rather than my usual £20 – £30.  It will be interesting to see how long I can make this last I am banking on the fact that I have got all I need to produce a weeks evening meals and make packed lunches for work Monday – Thursday.  Maybe for Friday lunch at home I starve!

Tonight our Grey bin (this is our non-recyclable waste) gets emptied for the first time in 3 weeks so although not full to the top it is more than usual.  Tomorrow I start with an empty bin and I will be (if I can remember) logging by photograph the contents each week.  As our waste goes into empty carrier bags I will be counting number of bags each week as a marker of my achievements.

Does anyone else have a problem with foods going out of date or being sold in too large a quantity?


7 thoughts on “Dealing with the matter of Food Waste…

  1. Anny

    I see a lot of myself in this post. I plan our meals quite well, but like you, our plans frequently receive the proverbial spanner, and to be honest, I sometimes simply can’t face cooking the meal I’d planned – why do we have to have dinner at just the time when my energy and creativity are at their lowest ebb? – so yes, we have waste. And I buy to make certain things that I don’t get around to – yes this is all me too. I have a friend who stopped doing a weekly shop when her children left home. Instead, she goes to the local CoOp after work and gets something for dinner. She says her waste is down and her shopping bill too – but I don’t think I could make that work for our family of picky eaters. I’m going to be watching carefully as you go along!

    1. wherethejourneytakesme Post author

      Hi Anny…I thought I had replied to this but my computer has not been playing ball. What I did say (if I can remember) is that our Co-op in the village is only a glorified off license and convenience store so the choice and freshness of the veg is poor although I do like the idea of the Co-op. So I have a choice of two Sainsbury’s one opposite were I work and a very large one just out of town on the ring road. I could get most of my shopping after work each day and do a bigger shop once a month at the larger store – I am still undecided on this but will no doubt keep everyone posted!

  2. Sarah

    We don’t often have much food we throw out because it has gone out of date, I can not get my food cupboard to stay nice and tidy. I had a clear out at the weekend and mixed all my brown sugars together. As a drastic measure have moved everything into a temporary cupboard and will only move it back as I use it. I will review it in a few weeks to see what I am left with!
    I tend to make a cake on a Friday and we will eat it as pudding over the weekend, as well as with a cup of tea, or otherwise I will freeze some for another time.
    Sarah x


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