An emergency food waste week!

Filed in Blog by on April 14, 2009 26 Comments
FavoriteLoadingAdd article to favourites

fridge after clearing outOk, I’m holding my hands up and making a massive confession. Yesterday I went through my ‘fridge and boy was it scary. There was a MOUNTAIN of food I had to compost. I was so annoyed with myself because I even threw out; check this out; diced potatoes for making mash and prepared, chopped carrots and broccoli – all ready for making pies. So I’d already done the hard bit of the preparation and then I left them to grow green fur jackets. I’ve saved the scratch ‘n’ sniff feature; believe me, it was not pretty!

In addition I found brown slimy salad, wilting beans and all manner of things. The birds had a feast of mouldy cheese but I felt so guilty. Here I am telling you all what to do, proudly telling local radio that I never have food waste and yesterday I composted about a week’s worth of food. My bank account is shrinking before my very eyes.

So this week I need to get back on track with food waste. Some of you have mentioned the same issues as me. You can be really good about it for a while but then life gets in the way and old habits slip back into place.

I’ve once again cleaned the fridge and bought back into play the system I created a few months ago which was to put jars of stuff that never go off in the salad drawer at the bottom and have things that need using up on the TOP shelf. This really helped us last time and our system included putting any leftovers on the top shelf in see through containers. These nestled with salad items, things like cottage cheese or cream and anything nearing its use buy date.

The other two shelves are used for fresh vegetables, and things like yogurt that have a longer shelf life. When I buy new things they begin life on the bottom shelf and work their way up.

I salvaged my conscience a little by making soup there and then РI chopped up the usable carrots, wilting mange tout and floppy pieces of celery and boiled them up with herbs, tomato pur̩e and a big handful of lentils, barley and split peas. The result, of course, was a beautiful soup that tasted out of this world and cost a few pence to make.

So this week I’ll be using up the leftovers, riffling through the freezer and declaring this a big fat zero waste week. Then I’m going to smuggly head over to Kristen’s site and post up my ‘no food waste Friday‘ photo for all the world to see 😀

To use up I have:

cooked cauliflower and chicken in white sauce (I’ll make that into a pie or pasties)
3/4 tub cottage cheese (we’ll have that with salad on a couple of days)
1/4 cucumber (ditto)
1/2 bag rocket (ditto)
1/2 bag carrots (shouldn’t be difficult to use up in salads, cooked with main meals or as snacks)
1/2 portion of cooked rice and curry (will make a small lunch combined with green salad)
1/2 tub marscapone (will combine with jam and cream to make a kind of cheesecake pudding moussy thingie)
1/2 tub creme fraiche (see above)
1/2 block cheese (will use with salads for lunch and have cheese on toast or pizza a couple of times this week)
broccoli (no problem for me to eat kilos of the stuff; I love it!)
1 small swede (will bake and mash with a meal one day this week; perhaps the chicken and cauliflower pasties)
8 packs tofu (I need to freeze them as there is no way I can eat these up in time)

ok, not too challenging when you write it all down like that is it? I’m going to consider having a chart on the door with the contents of the fridge and freezer in them, but I just don’t know that I’ll keep it up to date.

Ho hum.

Anyone want to join me?


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (26)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. MrsJ says:

    Could the cooked cauliflower and chicken in white sauce not go into the freezer until you have time to use it?

  2. Carole Blake says:

    Try not to beat yourself up over it Mrs G. I’m just about to head home from the long Easter weekend up at my fiance’s and I JUST KNOW I’ll have exactly the same situation going on in my own fridge. I thought I’d better pop home and check the post and phone messages before coming back up here again. Long holidays are the biggest perk of working in a school!

    My boys went over to their dad’s on Friday evening for the week and there was food in the fridge that even they hadn’t gotten around to wolfing…

    There will def be veggies to make into soup, which I’ll freeze in sealable plastic beakers towards next week’s school lunches for me.


  3. Sarah says:

    Hey, life gets in the way sometimes! No guilt, just move on and start again.

    I have one cupboard door in the kitchen painted with blackboard paint and I have my weeks meal plan on that, along with a shopping list which gets added to as we run out of things or realise we need things. Maybe something like that would work? Doesn’t use any paper!

  4. I had to throw some cherries in the compost yesterday, they had got put in a tub and pushed to the back of the fridge.

    So don’t feel too bad mrs G.

    Otherwise we are doing ok, i have half a loaf of bread which will be made into Bread & Butter Pudding for dinner

  5. Compostwoman says:

    Don’t beat yourself up Mrs G! At least you composted or made soup 😉

    Can I just make one point though? Its not apparently a good idea to give mouldy cheese (or mouldy anything) to birds, as with hollow bones and air sacs inside they can get a nasty mould infection from it which can be damaging if not fatal….


  6. @Compostwoman: Oh, now I have to feel guilty about previous cheese given to the birds!

    Mrs G, don’t feel bad I know how easy it is too fall off the no-food waste wagon! The main thing is to haul yourself back up there!

    Yesterday we had a little left over lentil/veg soup improved by a mystery bag I found in the freezer, containing rice/mince stuffing for cabbage mix. Would never have put the two together but it was delicious! And, its always nice to have a surprise for lunch!

  7. Compostwoman says:

    Oh no! I wasn’t trying to make readers feel guilty, just warn them of the possible risk…..

    It would have to be very mouldy I expect ( she says, trying to be comforting…)

    I’ll get my coat….

  8. Sarah says:

    Hens shouldn’t have cheese, or anything dairy based, it gives them the runs! So I don’t leave dairy stuff out for any birds, just to be safe.

  9. Sarah says:

    I reckon you’re alright…. hang your coat back up….

  10. mummypreneur says:

    Hi Mrs Green, I’ve just read your post and would really like to send you some of our Count On It labels to help you with your zero food waste challenge. As a mum of two children I invented Count On It labels as, like you, I was annoyed at how much food and money I was wasting because I couldn’t remember how long things had been left in the fridge or freezer. Count On It labels are easy to use, scratch-off memory joggers which enable busy households to simply & safely track how long food has been opened or stored. Made in the UK from sustainable materials, they can save you time, waste and money.

  11. John Costigane says:

    Looked in my freezer and found an Aldi Apple Strudel, a quarter pack left. This will be Bokashied.

    This is a good make of dessert as the pack is just card. One of the few plastic free choices in the Aldi freezer.

    At the store today, I found cocoa in a paper and card package. This means the plastic, capped and lined, drum type can be ditched. This might also be a solution for coconut and dried fruit. Definitely worth a contact.

  12. So you can give cheese to the birds eh? That’s good one. I usually end up sticking it in the compost and hoping for the best which I know is terrible. Don’t worry about your one week of mass composting. At least you’re not sending it to the landfill like most people!

    I always think of you when I’m looking in my fridge to make dinner and think that there’s nothing there. I think “Mrs. Green would be able to whip something up”

  13. Oh, yay! You’re going to participate this week…woohoo!

    I hope that you have nothing to take a picture of, though. 🙂

  14. @John Costigane: John was it Aldi for the cocoa or a local store to you?

  15. John Costigane says:


    Aldi, in Paisley, had 2 options for cocoa. One in the standard drum and 1 in paper/card pack. This is a new product and may be a sign of further items to come. I contacted them about coconut, for baking, and a reply will be given today.

    Thanks again for the sponge baking tips. I followed your advice closely and got a fine result.

  16. Sal says:

    I try to be good with food waste however a certain other household member is less careful, so my new plan is to stick a sheet of paper (scrap paper dont shout at me )on the fridge and write down what i have to throw out/compost and its approximate value. I am hoping this will make the issue more real in our house. i get the feeling that the other party who doesnt do the main shop forgets we are throwing pound coins in the bin (figuratively speaking)

  17. @John Costigane: Thanks John, I had a foray into both Aldi and Lidl today, as I was near both for other errands.

    I saw the cocoa in both versions in my Aldi and also bought some fairtrade chocolate (fairglobe) in Lidl.

    Another thing Lidl had which will do me until I get my own lettuce sown was a living salad, so you can just take a couple of leves as you want rather than having a whole lettuce or a bag full. I t says it will last on a windowsill for approx 10 days (only 99p to boot).
    I like a little lettuce in my sandwiches but can’t warrant a full one as it just doesn’t keep.

    Mrs Green i also saw in Lidl that they doo boxes with the celophane window of penne & tagiatelle, but the fussili is still in the plastic bag. Also couscous came in a box.

  18. Kirsty says:

    I’m liking the shelf rotation systems Mrs Green, I might give it a whirl. Although I try to use everything, there are salad stuffs inparticular lettuce that always ends up unused. You’ve inspired me to go look in the fridge and use up my wilting vegetables to make a delicious soup for lunch. Having an unexpected day off work to look after poorly daughter, is a great opportunity. Other than that I’ll be in the garden seeing which vegetable seeds I can sow next, and planning the design of my new veg plot, courtesy of

  19. Mrs Green says:

    @MrsJ: Hi Mrs J – fortunately, LMG had an ‘eat for England’ day, so all was used up for tea!

    @Carole Blake: How were things in your fridge, Carole?

    @Sarah: Loving that blackboard idea, Sarah. We discussed that and might give it a go!

    @maisie dalziel: Hope the bread and butter pudding was good, Maisie – a shame about the cherries; cherry clafoutis is good 😉
    The pasta ranges in Lidls are better, still not perfect but better than most supermarkets and I agree about the fairtrade choc!

    @Compostwoman: Oh goodness, thanks for the heads up about feeding birds mouldy cheese, compostwoman. 🙁

    @mrsdirtyboots: I love how meals turn out like that! Sound intriguing!

    @mummypreneur: Hi mummypreneur – welcome to the site and thank you for your offer. I’d be glad to try them and write up a review for you! I’ll send you an email 🙂

    @John Costigane: Wow – the cocoa find sounds superb. Do keep us posted, John 🙂

    @Jen from CleanBin: Funny how we appear in each other’s minds at opportunities like this! I think of you when I’m in shops and wondering if I really NEED something or just WANT it LOL!

    @Kristen @TheFrugalGirl: I hope there is no photo too; I’ll have to wait and see!

    @Sal: That’s a really good idea Sal. We have to speak another’s language – so if money is the priority, then showing what is being thrown away is a good move. Let us know how it goes.

    @Kirsty: Hi Kirsty; I hope your daughter feels better soon. Some of your home made soup will fix her up 🙂 I love the landshare concept 🙂

  20. Carole Blake says:

    @Mrs Green: I cannot lie, there were several items in there that I would normally by now have thrown away to landfill, including some leftover beef mince. BUT, since I have ordered my Bokashi bins, which I have been assured by email have already been despatched,I am now awaiting their arrival, (hopefully tomorrow) so at least the food won’t be completely wasted and will be compost at some point.


  21. Well I ended up with a couple of salad bits that had also gone past usable to go into the compost bin this morning, but all in all agood week.

  22. mummypreneur says:

    Mrs Green, thanks for your response – I’ll gladly send you a sample and look forward to your email. If you get a chance, check out our offer to celebrate Earth Day -

  23. Mrs Green says:

    @Carole Blake: Hi Carole, it’s so exciting about your bokashi bins (I know, I know, I need to get out more!) I guess they have arrived by now, from your Thursday comment! Yipee!

    @maisie dalziel: That’s great Maisie – salad is sometimes difficult to get through this time of year with the weather so changeable.

    @mummypreneur: I’m playing catch up mummypreneur, so think I’ve missed your offer, but I’ll have a read later and drop you an email with our details 🙂 Thank you!

  24. A quick question, Mrs. Green: do you have a freezer? Just looking for more information about under-the-counter refrigerators!

  25. Mrs Green says:

    @SavvyChristine: Hey 🙂 Yes we have a freezer; quite a large one, but many people make do with the tiny ice box in their small fridges too 😉

Leave a Reply