Food waste Friday and weekly weigh in year 1, week 8

Filed in Blog by on July 24, 2009 11 Comments
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Weighing heavy on the landfill this week; the Green's rubbish

Weighing heavy on the landfill this week; the Green's rubbish

This week I’ve been decluttering the kitchen as you know. Interestingly, it’s resulted in less food waste and less money spent on food because I’m finding all sort of goodies in the cupboards to use up.

I thought I needed pasta – wrong! I have three bags.
I thought I needed tinned tomatoes -wrong! I have three tins
I thought I needed chick peas – wrong! I have seven, yes seven, tins.
And don’t even get me started on tins of fish. I know now why fish stocks are depleted; it’s because we have them all here.

I’ve even given away a box of food on Freecycle that I know we won’t get through.

So this week has been easy on the landfill and easy on my pocket. We’ve had our favourite staple of chickpea and tomato soup, and have been using up tins of fish, using up eggs with beans and finishing off boxes of rice.

If we should happen to get snow or a flood tomorrow for the next 8 weeks, I am confident we won’t starve here at zero waste towers.

Also, I’ve come across a fabulous online tool that will reduce your food waste to a svelte size zero and revolutionise your cooking skills forever. More about that next week.

What I did find lurking on top of the kitchen cupboards were some left over cream crackers from Christmas. They were a tad soft so have been crumbled up, along with a couple of Christmas shortbreads and are being gradually given to the birds. I did make a funky savoury crumble topping from some of the cream crackers, but it wasn’t the sort of dish that left you begging for more.

And while I’m on the subject of birds, I learned something interesting on twitter from my friends at Wiggly Wigglers today (@Wiggled). I discovered that you need to put out live mealworms for fledglings as eating live food is the only way young birds can get a drink. There you go; you learn something new every day.

Considering the amount of decluttering I’ve been doing and the mountains of food I unearthed, I’m delighted that there is so little food waste this week. Although we have had a couple of takeaways too, which now, thanks to my chip reheating mission, no longer results in any food waste.

On to the landfill bin and it’s not looking too bad this week. I’ve officially changed my name to “Mrs Ruth (less) Green” in a bid to succeed at our mission to only put our bin out for collection once this year.

Next week I have to go back to the store where I recently bought a filing cabinet. The cabinet was treated like a film star on a health weekend detox in the shop and came with its own full body wrap. I’ve decided to return the wrapping to the store when I visit.

In addition, I finished a bag of Tilda rice this week and despite numerous efforts (ie becoming the customer they hate hearing on the end of the ‘phone) at trying to get them to change their packaging, they haven’t. It’s a plastic / board / paper combination affair, so back to the manufacturer it goes. If Lidls and Uncle Bens can sell rice in cardboard boxes, then so can Tilda.

As you might remember, Little Miss Green manfully offered to have one large bag of crisps per week instead of individual bags to help our landfill cause. She’s done really well and it’s working out well. I made a mistake though and bought a Pringles-type crisp for her this week. Of course I was forgetting how darned heavy that combination packaging is. I did my best to pull it apart but failed miserably. Well desperate times call for desperate measures, so we’re really pulling out the stops.

Unfortunately Mr Green is back on his favourite cheese, which comes in thick firm plastic. Never mind, we all have our favourites…

Altogether lounging around in the landfill this week we have:

  • cheese wrapper
  • Quorn ham packet
  • lentils bag
  • oats packet
  • Mr G’s favourite cheese packaging
  • cereal bar wrapper
  • clingfilm from some cheese bought on deli counter
  • plastic seal from tomato sauce bottle
  • disposable razor
  • seal from soya sauce bottle
  • plastic wrap from two house plants

It weighs a rather ample 117gms. I have a lot to learn, as the ‘pringles’ tube weighs 42gms alone! That’s nearly half our weekly target.

Back to the large bags next week then.

How is your landfill waste looking this week? I know lots of our readers are family people – do you create more or less waste when the kids are at home for the holidays?

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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 (11)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Sending plastic packaging waste back to source is an excellent way to show them the outcome of their unsustainable practices, and for them to pay for the disposal of their waste. I received a package from a ‘sustainable’ major bank. Only problem was the polystyrene (‘6’) holder, bubble wrap and waste plastic packet. This will be returned with a Zero Waste perspective to explain the error of their ways.

    Combination waste is a particular nuisance for consumers/householders with a mixture of recyclables and waste plastic components. The Pringle’s tube might be best soaked in water to soften the card part whereas the plastic is unaltered. The weight is mainly card so the weekly waste total could be lowered a bit.

  2. sandy says:

    after months of looking in different shops, I have at last found a local health food shop that sells rice, porridge, flour, coffee beans, herbs and spices, all in our own packaging, or they will give you a plastic bag for you to bring in again next time.result

  3. Mrs Green Thank you for the mealworm mention. Live Mealworms are a great source of protein, fat and water for birds – especially fledglings but longer term the other way to support your younger birds is to plant plenty of plants that support insects.
    With regard to the Pringles type container – I am just going to try one out as a bird seed feeder… I think it might work…

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: John; I’ve had the same packaging from a bank; with a card reader in it. It all got sent back with a stern note. I think Mr G was planning on burning the pringles tube and salvaging the foil; this one (a Lidls copy) didn’t appear to have a plastic coating in it.

    @sandy: Hi Sandy; what great news about the health food shop. Are you in Gloucestershire or is this a best kept secret for somewhere else in the UK?

    @Heather Gorringe: Thanks for that, Heather. It was certainly a new thing for me to learn. I think the pringle bird feeder will be great! You need to enter that into the competition 🙂

  5. As yet I haven’t noticed an increase in landfill waste because of the holidays but lets see after next weekend when we are having a games night/bbq for a load of DS1’s friends (all teenagers), they are also camping over, so a breakfast will be included as well.

    I will put bins in strategic places with labels on but will maybe have to sift through afterwards.

  6. sandy says:

    Hi Mrs Green, the health food shop is in Newtown, Powys, mid wales sorry not Gloucestershire. our local council have a very good receord for recycling.
    and we also have a company called Potters recycling, they take our tetra packs, batteries, engine oil, amongst the usual stuff, just lacking yogurt pots but I send mine to ghs

  7. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: Hi Mrs Green, There was also talk of taking back old credit cards. No doubt this is only to landfill/Incinerate them. My view is to keep these cards for other uses, eg scraping ice from car windscreens. Banks are way behind other sectors who have adopted sustainable packaging, with BT an excellent example, with their moulded cardboard boxes for phones etc.

  8. Charity says:

    Lots of extra waste from our fortnight away, alas. Disposable nappies, mainly. Our second week was at Higher Lank Farm in Cornwall, where the owners offer cloth nappies to guests. Fantastic but as her main aim is to convert people, she doesn’t have enough of the larger sizes for my toddler. Should have taken our own really. Anyway, I highly recommend the place for those with small children. They recycle/compost guests waste, which is unusual.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Great ideas about the bins, Maisie – how did the weekend go for you all? I bet the boys had a great time!

    @sandy: Thanks for that, Sandy. It’s always good to hear about other areas and how they deal with their waste.

    @John Costigane: Bank cards are a real problem, John. I was told by the library that old cards are shredded, but they didn’t know what then happened with the plastic. There must be so many cards around or in the landfill.

    @Charity: Hi Charity; thanks for the heads up on Higher Lank Farm; it sounds wonderful but what a shame there weren’t enough nappies for your toddler. Still, it’s only 2 weeks out of the year and I’m sure you did all you could to keep waste to a minimum.

  10. The weekend went very well thanks, even though we had a downpour from 7pm to 9pm.

    The lads all arrived around 1pm, (so including my 2 we had 12 boys ranging in age from 11 to 19) and they had a couple of games of footy and then cricket whilst Dh and I got the BBQ sorted. So luckily that was all out of the way before the rains came, they came indoors to play darts and cards and then played manhunt after the rains had cleared. Continued with the darts and cards once too dark to do anything outside.

    They eventually went to sleep approx 3am, but were still all up by 9am for sausage and bacon sandwiches plus fried potatoes.
    We had said we would sort the food if they all brought their own drinks, but they all brought food as well, which was added in.
    We thought we had over done it with the food, but when I got up in the morning all apart from a few bread buns had been eaten.

    In total they devoured:
    48 sausages, 24 rashers of bacon, 3kg new potatoes, 24 burgers, 20 drumsticks, 36 bread buns (hm), 2 whole cucumbers, 2 whole celery, approx 50 cherry tomatoes, 36 millies cookies(hm), 2 marble cakes(hm), 12 gingerbread muffins (hm), 24 bags of crisps, 2 loaves of white sliced bread.

    They did also have a few cans or bottles of beer/cider and loads of pop.

    I set up 2 bins 1 for rubbish and one for cans and bottles, they all managed to put things in the correct bins; the oldest one actually asked first off where the recycling bin was.

    So even allowing for the extra bag which weighed in at 400g, it wasn’t that rubbish heavy, there was quite alot of recycling, but at least it is going to the right place.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Sounds like a wonderful time, Maisie; I love catering like that too; I think there is a Ma Larkin inside of me LOL!

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