Food waste friday and weekly weigh in year 1, week 29

Filed in Blog by on December 27, 2009 14 Comments
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AA wrinkly, mouldy pepper into the compost bin

A wrinkly, mouldy pepper into the compost bin this week

’twas a couple of nights after Christmas …

and our landfill bin wasn’t looking too bad at all.

Not too much plastic packaging from toys, and not too many ‘extras’ created from food, although I think Little Miss Green might still be playing with some packaging that will invariably end up in the bin – at least she is putting it to creative reuse for now.

We had a tiny amount of food waste so far, but there is still Christmas-type food to use up. I’ve made a list of everything left and hope to get through that during next week.

Our food waste amounts to 3/4 red pepper. I just don’t get on well with storing cut peppers. Little Miss Green really likes them, but ya know, you can’t eat an entire pepper in one sitting, and I find that when I return to it, a couple of days later, it’s always soft and wrinkly and not at all appetising, It’s the crunch and the spurt of juice that makes a pepper inviting, no?

Any tips for storing a cut bell pepper for longer than a couple of days? Or do I need to use them up in recipes once I’ve started it?

Onto the landfill bin then. This week we have:

  • packaging from prawns
  • 2 crisp bags
  • 1 chocolate bar wrapper
  • 1 dried fruits bag
  • metallised ribbon and cellophane from Abel and Cole Christmas pudding
  • rice cakes bag
  • licorice sweets bag
  • toothpaste tube
  • plastic packaging from new toothbrushes
  • assorted seals from wine and champagne bottles
  • assorted plastic from toys

All in all it weighs a post Christmas waste-line of 187 gms. Well, we all put on a few pounds over Christmas, right? We have until 13th January to go before our dustbin is emptied and by Jove, I think we’re going to do it!

How did you get on? Is your bin bulging around its wasteline too, or did you manage a low fat Christmas feast?

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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 (14)

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  1. Pat says:

    I have excellent luck with freezing them. I chop them up and add to other recipes later. You could try that.

  2. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    187g is well understood at this most challenging time. My own purchases of turkey & trimmings from Marshalls, the butcher, and Black Forest Gateau from Auld’s Bakers ‘Reduced-Packaging’ boxes, were a complete success. Many thanks to both local traders. Gifts will have some waste when finished in the New Year (sweets and food items). These will fall into the 4th quarter starting January 3rd.

    Roll on January 13th for the end of your year’s effort! Having passed a full year myself, the confidence for further years was raised markedly.

  3. Hi Mrs G – I know what you mean about peppers, but added to a spicy Thai flavoured sauce or stir-fry they are absolutely delicious. Our bin is still waiting for its big roll-out. I missed the last collection because my recycling bin lid had frozen, which meant that I couldn’t see the message from the council that our pre-christmas rubbish collection had changed to a Saturday. I needn’t have worried though, there was still space in it for the odd bits of rubbish created by our recent visitors. Our problem this year has been the wrappers from a tin of Cadburys Heroes….but my youngest has been very busy decorating boxes with them for now….but just like LMG he’s only delaying the inevitable. 😀 x

  4. Jane says:

    How long ago was it that Cadbury’s changed from foil and paper to the unrecyclable paper? When the foil was purple it was a welcome addition to craft projects eg covering cardboard stars to hang on the Christmas tree.

  5. Jane says:

    sorry too early – the unrecyclable PLASTIC!

  6. when stored in a small paper bag, the sliced peppers make excellent fajita servings.

    that is a stir fried shredded chicken or beef with green and red pepper and onion slices quickly grilled in one spoon of olive oil –then rolled in pita or chalupa or other flat bread pocket–we use tortillas or salad wraps here. add a few shredded leaves of lettuce and a sprinkling of cheese, some chili powder or’s a meal in a pocket.
    just another use of leftovers in a festive display.

    added to the salade du jour, red peppers are very appetizing. cut the mold away–rinse, snip onto salad and revive with vinaigrette, wrinkles disappear.

  7. Jane says:

    Well I was a bit gob-smacked about that pepper. A little bit of mould and some wrinkles. How could you chuck it out? How ageist!

    Yes, they are nicest raw when they are crunchy but they can go in stir fries, bolognese sauce and pork stroganoff etc when they are not. Cut out the soft and mouldy bits if there is not that much (that doesn’t look much) and check the taste (of the rest that is firm!).

    I also have a sponge type mat in the bottom of the chiller drawer which seems to help with the storage of vegetables in there by collecting any moisture and reducing bruising.

  8. laura says: has lots of tips for storing peppers, and other foods. Plus has recepies for using leftovers. Hope this heps, i have just discovered your site and think it is fantastic. 🙂

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Pat: Pat, freezing is something I’m really bad at, but you’re right; this is a great suggestion. I’m going to do it next time I buy one. Can you defrost and then eat raw or do you need to cook them once they have been frozen?

    @John Costigane: Hi John, you’ve done brilliantly, and like you we’ve discovered as time goes on, our confidence grows. I feel sure we could keep our bin for a few more months, but we want to start with a clean slate; so off to the landfill it will go.

    @Almost Mrs Average: Covering things with a spicy sauce sounds a great move 😀 I saw on a Quality street box this week, detailed instructions for recycling all parts of the packaging; I was most impressed. Bet those decorated boxes look great though 😉

    @nadine Sellers: Ahhh, a vinaigrette trick – thank you! If it’s effective I might try bathing in it too LOL! I wonder what it is about it that renews a wrinkled pepper; must be the acid I guess…

    @Jane: Thanks for your suggestions; perhaps I am bring too judgemental of my innocent peppers then. I’ll try the next one out before chucking it. I’ve heard about those sponges; I no longer use the salad drawer – I tend to forget about things in there, so it now houses jars of things that don’t really go off. Veggies are kept in a see through container near the top of the fridge so I don’t forget about them

    @laura: Hi Laura, welcome to the site and thanks for the website. It’s a great one with lots of useful tips, advice and lovely recipes 🙂

  10. Hazel says:

    I have the same problem with veg in the fridge Mrs G.

    If I end up with a glut of peppers (cheap on the market etc) I either freeze them or roast them.
    A bit of a faff, but they taste delicious and keep for ages.I prefer not to use the green ones for this. Roast, grill or BBQ whole, turning if necessary, until blistered all over. Put in a large bowl and cover with a plate until cool. Then peel off the skin and compost along with the stalks and seeds, saving as much juice as possible. Some people do this under the tap, but I think this dilutes the flavour as well as wasting water… I’d rather get a bit sticky and wash my hands afterwards!
    Cut the flesh into strips and dress with the juice and a bit of olive (or rapeseed) oil. Add any of the following according to taste: chopped garlic, chopped parsley, balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of orange juice, s +p, more oil…
    Store in the fridge and eat as they are, with crusty bread or use in sandwiches, in pasta or on pizza.

    If you have a couple of elderly peppers, cut them in half through the stalk and de-seed (feed to chickens if available as they love them), fill with chopped tomato (or soaked dried tomato if out of season), some chopped garlic, a slug of (olive) oil and some chopped anchovies or a splash of worcester sauce. Roast in a hot oven for about 45 minutes, or until softened and the edges are slightly charred. These are my version of Delia’s version of Simon Hopkins’ Piedmont Peppers (!) and they recommend them as a starter with crusty bread, which I have done, but more often I add a little cheese (usually feta, halloumi or mozzarella) and serve them with rice and maybe salad. Chop up leftovers and mix with pasta + or – tuna. You could also use them as a vegetable with meat. These also keep well in the fridge.

    Quite probably teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, but thought someone may find either idea useful. Off to vote now!

  11. LJayne says:

    187g for Christmas is great I think.

    Saw you in the Daily Mail this week. I’m really going to enjoy following your new challenge for next year. When I read the article out to the family my ds asked if we could do the same :-0 I had to explain how long you had been working on this and how it was all about challenging a lot of our purchasing decisions, not just our recycling ones. But I’m definitely up for following in your footsteps and I think it is brilliant that you are helping me to inspire my children.

    My ds is just coming up to 7 and is very keen on all things green. They have an eco-group at school and so on. But he’s also reaching the age where he’s starting to question what comes behind it all so it is excellent to have things like My Zero Waste to challenge him with and explain things to him with. It led to an interesting lunchtime discussion yesterday as to whether polluting the air was better or worse than sending loads of things to landfill and how you made such a decision on that anyway.

    Happy New Year 2010.

  12. Jane says:

    @Mrs Green: Interesting that you have stopped using the salad drawer because it hides your vegetables. I too am a great advocate of see-through containers for the fridge, together with a magnetic noticeboard on which you can write reminders for left-overs needing to be eaten/snacks for the ‘looking-for-something-nice’ men in the house. There are companies on the internet from whom you can buy replacement bits and pieces for your electric appliances so instead of saying ‘I’ll get see-through crisper drawers’ next time you buy a fridge you may be able to replace and then freegle your existing ones.

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @Hazel: Hazel, that’s totally genius. I can’t believe I had forgotten about blistering peppers – in fact, LMG LOVES them done in this way. A couple of years ago I used to do this and blend the peppers with feta cheese and basil; it made a wonderful, rich ‘dip’ but I’d quite forgotten about it. Thanks so much! The roasted ones sound good; I might try that some time and see what DD thinks of them 🙂

    @LJayne: Hi Lesley, oh I’m so proud of your son – go him! And I’m so excited that you are going to set yourselves a challenge for 2010. Really looking forward to hearing all about it 🙂 I’ll have to give you some blog space 😉

    @Jane: Hi Jane, a whiteboard or similar is something many of our readers talk about and I must try it. Organisation (despite recent press articles) is not my forte! It seems it works well for your household. Inspiring stuff …

  14. LJayne says:

    Following on from Jane’s comment about whiteboards, some friends of mine have painted an area of their kitchen wall with blackboard paint to function in the same way.

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