Food waste Friday and weekly weigh in year one week 24

Filed in Blog by on November 20, 2009 26 Comments
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This week's tiny weigh in from Chez Green

This week's tiny weigh in from Chez Green

Another week has whizzed past here at zero waste towers. Our bin is getting fuller and we’re still wondering whether we are going to achieve our goal for 2009, which is to only have our bin emptied once.

Last time was the first week in January, so we have to make it to the end of the year to succeed!

In order to do this, we set ourselves a weekly target of less than 100gms landfill waste per week and every Friday we let you poke through our bin with us to see what we are throwing away.

We also log our food waste for the week. This helps keep us accountable and we’re honoured to be supporting Frugal Girl’s ‘Food waste Friday‘ post each week. If you blog about your food waste, then be sure to join in with Kristen’s food waste Friday too.

For us, we’re celebrating little food waste. We have the remains of some trifle and it was not without a great deal of effort that I did my best to achieve a fate of doom and gloom.

Last week I experimented in the kitchen with a new sweetener. Little Miss Green can’t eat refined sugar, so I use fructose, honey or agave syrup for baking.

This week I tried a new product which is made from fruit extract and I baked a cake.

Only I didn’t – I baked a grainy rubber tyre that looked like a cake.

The taste was good; very lemony, but the texture was erm, interesting.

Not to be beaten I had a cunning plan. I made some jelly and custard and used the cake as trifle sponge.

Little Miss Green relished it and I thought I had won the day.

However, by the second day something really weird had happened to the texture and she had to admit defeat.

She scraped off all the custard and ate it, but the jelly infused sponge had to go. The birds ate it, I’m pleased to say; goodness knows if it was any good for them, but they looked happy enough to eat it.

Onto the landfill bin then. This week we have another lightweight effort from us:

  • 1 posh bread wrapper with a number 7 code on it. Boooo
  • net from some lemons (the shop didn’t have loose ones and I was in no mood to shop around)
  • packaging from broccoli – I’ve started buying it in the co-op and all the organic broccoli is pre wrapped. I’m afraid my health comes before landfill on this one, so I won’t be changing unless a better option comes up
  • seal from soya sauce bottle
  • inner plastic pack from vegetarian suet; I don’t know what it is as it’s unmarked
  • 1 small crisp bag
  • 1 dead dvd pen

All in all it weighs a rather leprechaun-like 30 gms!

Yipee! If we keep this up there will be no problem achieving our goal, but we have the dreaded ‘C’ to contend with first! What do you think – do you think we’re going to achieve our goal of only emptying the bin once this year or do you think something is waiting in the wings to trip us up?

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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 (26)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    30g is yet another excellent total with just 7 weeks left to bin collection day. I only hope you can manage to get the bin out on time, after 52 long lie-ins. There is a certain hint of sloth in avoiding all those early ventures outdoors. Maybe we should promote this sleep-enhancing aspect of Zero Waste, especially at this hibernative time of year.

  2. Layla says:

    WOW!! 30gms is great!!

    I was wondering about whether you manage to keep one bin for the whole year!! πŸ™‚

    Can’t wait to hear the results!!
    (Of course I’m keeping the fingers crossed!!)

    And lol about the cake! (I had… odd results in the past too! It got eaten, most surprisingly – still can’t really get over that! I have some sturdy relatives! and neighbours! :))

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John – I think you have an excellent point with getting out of bed to put out the bin LOL! I heard it coming up the road the other day while I was still part asleep and was thinking ‘Thank GOodness I’m not out there in the wind and rain dragging that heavy bin to the kerbside”

    @Layla: Thanks Layla, we’re unsure about the whole thing, but we now have a story going into big press on the cards, so we really want to succeed! Nothing like 4 million readers to give you the energy to go that extra mile LOL!

  4. lol about your cake! It is tough to substitute other sweeteners for sugar, because not only does sugar add sweetness, it also adds bulk to the cake batter.

    Way to go on your efforts to use it up, though!

  5. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    I had forgotten about your unwheeled bin which makes bin day a bigger chore. Maybe a few stretching exercises would be advised before, and on, the big day.

    As a follow-up to the commingled collection yesterday, today I saw a full, rejected blue bin. It failed on 2 counts: open lid and more critically black plastic bags on view. It is a big adjustment for a lot of locals and neighbours can help those householders in most situations. Another point was seeing a local woman taking out a plastic bag (paper contents likely) to place, or empty, in the blue bin, situated on her front path. The bag is convenient for such storage and many people are likely to do this which may have to be addressed by the council.

    It has been a busy morning. At Aldi, there were 2 tinfoil festive chocolate offerings, a Santa and a Reindeer, also with felt collar and button. One young lass picked one of the latter for her dad’s attention. Also, I found a metal screw topped glass bottle of fruit drink, which will allow a replacement for a plastic topped glass water bottle

  6. John Costigane says:

    To continue,

    ….used for work etc. The plastic cap has been there for years but now can be recycled leaving an ideal bottle, plastic free.

    Apologies for the key slip and the extended contents in the post. Some days are just like that.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @[email protected]: Thanks Kristen; I’m still very much in the experimental stages with alternative sweeteners, but for all the failures there have been lots of successes πŸ˜‰

    @John Costigane: Great to hear the Aldi updates, John and interesting to hear how the comingled collections are going. A couple of failures in the first week is still pretty good going!

  8. I’m rooting for you Mrs G. I’m doing my best to hold off too. I had to put it out in Feb, which I think was due to some giblets and some cat litter But now my bin is on the brink of being full. It’s bin day tomorrow and as my kitchen rubbish bin (aka my ceramic plant pot) is now full too, I’m going to have to venture down the garden path. One thing’s for certain…if it’s not put out tomorrow…it will most definitely be two weeks time. You should be really pleased with yourself….ours is 240 litre wheelie bin, unlike your slimline number πŸ™‚

    @John….It’s great to read your experience of comingled collections. I certainly find it a whole lot easier since moving to Suffolk and having our single recycling bin in place.

  9. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs A,

    Commingled is certainly more evident up north, with several new schemes. It was not so long ago that your excellent local system seemed unattainable here. The recent announcement was a complete surprise. Judging by the improved local participation, from the first collection, this should raise the annual recycling percentage from its current low level. I can see no reason why other areas should not benefit from such a system.

  10. @John Costigane: Great news John and it’s just brilliant that your council includes the Tetra Paks too.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @Almost Mrs Average: Hey Mrs A; well have fun wheeling that beast to the kerbside; I so do NOT miss that aspect of life LOL! It will be quite something to be up early in January for a grand bin putting out!
    You’ve done brilliantly to go since February; and of course, if you end up with meat or cat litter it has to go out sooner. Love your ceramic plant pot bin πŸ˜€

    @John Costigane: it sounds wonderful John, and I’ve read over the year about plans for a zero waste Scotland, so household recycling needs to be improved to reach this goal.

  12. Poppy says:

    Rescued today – almost full tub of Lurpack spreadable and a fairly large block of cheese. They had both been left on a table after a meeting late last week (someone was supposed to put them in the fridge!!) The butter is absolutely fine and the cheese is a bit dried up, but it’ll be just great in cooking! Both were heading for the bin until I said STOP!!

    (I also brought a banana skin home to put into the compost!)

    I think I’m getting a bit of a reputation and although I know what I do is good, I do worry a little about what others must think! (insert blushing embarrased smiley)

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Well Poppy, I think you are wonderful and I would be chuffed to bits if I were catering for a meeting and someone took home the leftovers. I worry what people think in the shops, but then I look at LMG and think I’m doing this for her and her children, so that keeps me going.,

    Enjoy the free food, I’ll be ’round for cauliflower cheese later πŸ˜‰

  14. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green.

    The aim is for 40% recycling by the end of 2010, as part of the Zero Waste target. This is a positive move but a long way from the better performance already seen in England and Wales. A connection asked if the trend was over because of the new commingled system but in reality this is another necessary change among many other such developments. This good local development is a chance to promote commingled more widely, even in areas with a good recycling percentage.

    The commingled system itself is developing. Compared to Mrs A system. we have Tetra Paks and , I think, separate, 4-weekly, source-segregated glass collection (clear glass a priority). It would be great to hear from others about their situations. This is definitely a work-in-progress.

  15. John Costigane says:

    @FehlschlΓ€ge I Β« Die moderne Speisekammer: Welcome, The Modern Pantry.

  16. With my job of serving the hot dinners at school, I see all sorts of food waste, where certain children decide they’ve had enough or don’t like what is on their plate.

    There isn’t an option on the day, parents pre-order the previous week and the meals are brought in from an outside caterer.

    One thing I don’t allow to happen though is for a child to take bread or fresh fruit and then not eat it. (bread is put on plates on the table, i cut the slices in half, so as to minimalise the wastage, but it can only be taken if the child is going to eat it)(fresh fruit is in a bowl on the serving table to be had either instead of or after pudding.

    The other thing I do is plate up any leftovers from the serving dishes and they either go into the staff fridge or I bring them home depending on what they are. ( they will only go into the bin back at the caterers)

  17. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: John, can you translate that page? I can’t read it so I don’t know what they are saying about us LOL!
    40% target isn’t exactly aiming for the stars is it? But it’s better than previous years I guess…

    @maisie dalziel: Hi Maisie; good to see you, I’ve missed your comments recently – hope all is well in your household. You’re doing so much to minimise waste in that school; it’s wonderful to see. I agree with you that children should take what they know they can eat and then come back for more. We do that at home, but then again LMG doesn’t have brothers and sisters at home to fight with, so it’s not like we run out. It must be more challenging in schools where the food might run out and kids would be left without.
    I think you are doing marvellous work πŸ™‚

  18. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    On the 40%, you are spot-on. For a long time nothing was moving locally and this seemed set to continue, until a big change was announced recently. Hopefully, this is a sea change which promises more developments.

    Die moderne Speisekammer (‘spice-cabinet’) is a contact outside our lingua franca. Zero Waste belongs to all so other languages, like German, have value in the trend. The difficulty is to setup the process to make it practical for both sides. The site itself allows English based input translated to German for the blog’s readers.

    A facility here would provide a similar interface. Is that difficult to add to MyZeroWaste?

    The Google Translator provided a quick online translation which showed a recipe for old banana in scones on one page, and food waste items on another: both relevant to our interest.

  19. @Mrs Green: Hi Mrs Green, we are all doing well thanks; just life has got very busy.

    One or other of the boys seems to have an activity most nights now and we are still nurturing the puppy for Dh work, he is now 14 weeks and easily triple the size when we got him.

    We think he will still sleep at our house until after Xmas, but it is definitely a commitment not to be taken lightly. He goes into work during the day coming home with dh in the evening.

    The boys as ever are constantly hungry, having breakfast, lunch at school, pack up when they come home and then dinner later and even then pudding or snacks depending on activity.

  20. Hello Mrs. Green, hello John Costigane

    Thanks for checking out my site which is – at the moment – in German only. I was aiming at an all German audience but AM THRILLED that you and myzerowaste take interest in it. I’m currently thinking of putting up the site bilingual so that people outside German speaking countries can follow my strive to waste not want not. I’m a freelance translator for English so language shouldn’t be the problem…


  21. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Thanks for the help with the site, John. I’ve never looked in to making the site translated; something to think about for the new year perhaps, to appeal to a wider audience. Thanks for the idea πŸ™‚

    @maisie dalziel: Hi Maisie, it sounds so busy there! You need to make sure the puppy has not carved a notch in your hearts πŸ˜‰ It sounds like all you do is make food at the moment; hopefully you’ll get some more time for yourself soon.

    @Die moderne Speisekammer: Hi Sabine; welcome to the site and thanks for leaving your comment. If you translate then a bilingual site would be wonderful. We have a couple of readers who put posts up in both English and their native language. I admire people who can do that. Keep up the great work!

  22. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Contact with others outside our fellow English speakers can only add to the trend. With the useful products from Germany, it will be ace to see how they are regarded locally. Sabine’s bilingual approach should be worth a look and who knows, maybe we will all learn some of the language.

  23. John Costigane says:

    @Die moderne Speisekammer: Hi Sabine, great to hear from you regarding your plans for the blog, with the language barrier addressed. I hope we can promote good contacts and discuss many things in detail.

  24. @Mrs Green: There are advantages with this puppy, as we get to have a dog but not all the expense etc.

    Dh work is 5 minutes walk away so the boys can go and get him whenever they want to once he his at work permanently.

    I’m going to the Tastes of Lincolnshire Food Fair on Saturday taking both boys as well, as they enjoy all the samples etc, I have been previously it is a very good day out.

    With the boys and their food consumption, I wouldn’t have it any other way I’d much rather them eat loads and be very active and healthy ( both well within the BMI limits for their height and weight) than be picky and sickly.

    I’ll do a typical days eating for them both on my blog next week.

  25. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Hi Maisie; enjoy the food fair and I look forward to your posts about typical food in your household. I love picking up ideas from posts like that πŸ™‚

    @John Costigane: Hi John, well picking up a bit of German would be welcome; I’d love to be better at languages!

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