As a family of four, we have quite a bit of waste in our house. One of the things that we waste the most of is food, and it’s not only because the boys like to leave their food or chuck half of it on the floor. Sometimes, we are just as guilty as they are when it comes to food wastage. In fact, just the other day, we decided to have a Pizza Hut instead of the pies that we had bought in our weekly shop, meaning that the pies have simply gone off and won’t get eaten. That’s really bad isn’t it? But we just couldn’t be bothered to cook.
Another thing we are terrible with is fajita wraps. The other half and I used to have fajitas as a meal during the week and then Zach decided he wanted to try it. He liked them and so we have been having it as a family meal ever since. Only the wraps that we have are pretty big for a five year old, so we still have the big wraps for us (which we do eat all of), and then we buy a pack of smaller ones for the boys. But there are about eight in the pack and so they don’t get eaten. In fact, it’s pretty much three get eaten and the other five get thrown away. Which again, I know is terrible.
When our local council introduced the food waste system to our area, we really noticed how much our actual rubbish pile lessened once we started throwing our food away into a different bin. We are really lucky that our council are really good at recycling – we can pretty much recycle anything and we are very, very good at making sure that any plastics, cardboard, glass jars, cans etc., go out in the recycling. But it is clear that we still have a long way to go before I can say the same about our food waste.
When I received this really interesting infographic on waste, that was put together by BPI Consumer Packaging as part of their #TasteWithoutWaste campaign, it really got me thinking about what I could do to reduce the food waste in our house.
The biggest one is to use the freezer more. To freeze things that I wouldn’t necessarily think about freezing, like fruit and even onions (yes, I have seen those fab videos on Facebook about freezing onions). And also to actually use the stuff that is already in the freezer, because so often I buy a pack of two of something, only use one, and then the other sits in the freezer for months and months until I question whether I can use it anymore!
The other thing that I really need to do is pay attention to use-by dates. I am a terror for going to the fridge to find a yogurt for either us or the boys, and find they are out of date. I will tend to risk it if it’s only a couple of days past the use-by date but if it’s anything for the boys, I’ll just throw it away as I wouldn’t want to risk giving them a bad tummy. To avoid this, I need to make sure I regularly check the dates on things (I’m a terror for eggs going off too), and to make sure that we eat anything that is coming up to its’ use-by date.
One of the bits of advice that is on the infographic up there, is to donate anything that is coming up to its use-by date, that is clearly not going to be used, to the local food bank.We have a depository point in our local supermarket and I feel I must make more use of it. In fact there is a can of peaches in the cupboard that has been there for absolutely ages. I have a feeling that it is now out of date, but that is something that very much could have gone to the food bank – could have fed someone who was struggling to buy food.
I am definitely going to make myself more accountable to making sure that we lessen our food waste, because there is definitely a lot more that we can do to improve. I can’t control how much of the food my children eat off their plates, but I can manage their portions better, and I can make sure that anything I don’t think they will eat, doesn’t get cooked and is saved for a later date…in the freezer, and actually used.
I know that if we are sensible with our food waste, we could probably save money. If we are better prepared with what we are feeding the children during the week (rather than using the convenience of daily shop visits), and using up the stuff we have before buying fresh (I am looking at you bread!), then I know our wallets will be heavier, which when saving for a wedding, will be very useful!
How are you with your general waste? I think if we really look at ourselves, there is a lot that we can do – whether it is recycling all of those cardboard boxes or freezing the other two burgers from the pack of four!.