Food waste Friday and weekly weigh in year one week 25

Filed in Blog by on November 28, 2009 10 Comments
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Lumpy white sauce - help save it from the landfill

Lumpy white sauce - help save it from the landfill

I need your help again! You can possibly help me from having food waste this week.

Little Miss Green is rather partial to chicken in white sauce. She loves it with as many vegetables as possible mashed into the sauce.

I sometimes buy it in tins which can be recycled but it’s far cheaper to make my own, plus I know exactly what I’m putting into it.

Well I don’t know what happened, but a smooth creamy white sauce I did not get. I ended up with something that resembled a cat’s furball.

The sauce is full of lumps and as thick as the thickest thick stuff from thicksville.

I never follow a recipe for white sauce; by that I mean i don’t weigh anything, I just chuck it into the pan and keep stirring. And I’ve never had a disaster quite like this before!

I did tentatively serve some up and bless her, Little Miss green ate some of it; the rest went to the birds, but what can I do with the leftovers?

I’ve kept it in the fridge so that you can come to my rescue. It is possible to thin out and ‘unlump’ this white sauce or not?

On to the landfill and it’s yet another disaster. In the bin this week we have:

  • 2 large crisp bags
  • cellophane from loaf of bread
  • inner from cereal box
  • small crisp bag
  • kit kat wrapper (Little Miss Green bought it for Mr Green from her own money, bless)
  • cellophane from breadsticks
  • shrink wrap from chicken
  • toothpaste tube
  • unmarked plastic lid from gravy
  • lentils bag
  • bananas wrapper from Lidls (waiting to hear back as to what it is and whether it can be recycled)
  • Assorted broken plastic toys and packaging from Little Miss Green’s bedroom declutter and recent pocket money acquisitions.

All in all it weighs a depressing 234 gms. The household waste is 64 gms and the plastic debris from the declutter / plastic toys and magazines is 170 gms.


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 (10)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Decluttering has been a frequent, and necessary, part of MyZeroWaste, and something I will be doing from next April in year 3 of the challenge. If this can be accommodated within the targets set then it is a useful process for other enthusiasts to try.

    Lidls bananas are unpackaged locally here. Any caps, including from toothpaste tubes or gravy tubs, can be recycled here. Feel free to post them on.

  2. sandy says:

    try pushing the white sauce through a sieve and then whisking, good luck.

  3. LJayne says:

    You can try a sieve or you can try a hand blender like you would with soup. The latter works best if the sauce goes lumpy during cooking but would still work. You’ll probably want to reheat and add some more milk as well.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Thanks John; funny how the same supermarkets differ in their packaging solutions dependant upon location. What are your ‘rules’ about plastic then? Don’t they have to have a certain code on them for you to recycle them? I’m a bit confused about the whole thing!

    @sandy: @LJayne: Thank you both; I’ll try that today – will sieve, blend, heat and add more milk 😉

  5. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    The gals promoting the new commingled, in a touring roadshow, said plastic bags, film, polystyrene were the main exclusions, and that all plastic caps were acceptable. This was a quick explanation for the public generally but to you, or I, leaves many unanswered points. The things I regularly recycle are plastic tubs (of all colours), with lids, yoghurt pots, all plastic bottles, jugs and Tetra Paks. I remove lids from bottles and jugs, with the recyclable milk caps set aside for GHS, the rest in the blue bin. The lids for Tetra Paks are replaced, with any inserts, so that the whole pack material is sent back for reprocessing.

    Due to this lack of clarity for all plastics, I still aim to avoid as much as possible. Coffee jars are no longer a pain since the large cap can be recycled, in a way undermining the Kenco argument, but I prefer to buy complete glass items to use for food ingredient storage. I hope to remove all plastic lids currently in use, though, of course, some glass jars have plastic seals.

    Over all, you can imagine the difference this would make to your own activity. Commingled is seen to be successful in sheer volumes achieved. Other councils, countrywide, may also see the value of this system which appears to be standard in our wider area, save Glasgow which has its own sphere.

    There was absolutely no mention of codes, just different materials. I plan to use GHS since they are reusing the material locally as part of their business. The system is designed for the public generally who are often totally unaware of recycling codes. It is a kind of catch-all arrangement which accepts a far bigger range of materials.

    I hope this answers all your queries, though as ever 100% clarity does not exist.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: I hear you on this; often I feel I get half an answer and I have to push companies to give me the full response. I think there is one canned response for everyone and then they’ll look further into the issue if pushed by people ‘like us’ 😀
    Well it sounds like it is making a huge difference to your recycling targets up there and I guess in the initial stages, this is the main aim.

  7. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: One further point is the destination of such mixed plastic in commingled. A great deal is sent to China for reprocessing into new exported, plastic items, possibly including magazine inserts for children. These last items are then landfilled/EfW Incinerated as you recently indicated in a topic. Tetra Paks avoid this route since the company is happy to take returns, with the practicalities still to be assessed. This sustainable aspiration can inform other business activities.

    The GHS example has value as well being a UK reprocessor of recyclable milk caps, again avoiding the main route for mixed plastic. Promoting this type of business activity is part of Zero Waste.

    Locally, the commingled has transformed the situation with 2-weekly landfill collections, a hot issue on many websites. Of course, it makes no difference to me except for an adjustment to the waste reduction percentage 99.6% simply because collection figures are halved from 52 to 26/year. Some die-hards hanker after the ‘old days’ by putting out both blue and landfill bins on recycling Friday’s. The exercise will be of some benefit. The change is permanent but the recycling issue is far from settled.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, the idea of our stuff ending up in China only to be turned into pound shop items really concerns me, yet I guess that is the wheels of consumerism at their finest….

  9. pickle says:

    One other interesting (and obvious when you think about it) problem with the recent rise in production of consumer goods in China is the associated increase in carbon emissions which can conveniently be blamed on China rather than the west
    See this article ( which suggests that half of the recent rise in China’s carbon dioxide pollution is caused by the manufacturing of goods for other countries – particularly developed nations such as the UK.
    I often wonder if recycling plastics is just deferring their eventual deposit into land fill by using energy to turn the plastic into something else which then becomes non recyclable.

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @pickle: Hi Pickle, thank you for taking time to comment! I agree about the problems with sending stuff to China and then buying it back again; it is very worrying. Thanks for the article; I shall read it later. Plastic will eventually end up in landfill, so the best choice for us in the meantime is to avoid it as much as possible. Easier said than done ;(

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