Food waste Friday and weekly dustbin demon

Filed in Blog by on February 26, 2010 10 Comments
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Unmarked plastic packaging from clothes

Unmarked plastic packaging from clothes

I have no food waste to report this week; in fact the fridge is looking decidedly empty. All I know is that I need to use up some broccoli and lettuce over the next couple of days to prevent anything being thrown away next week. Oh, I did have a pear that had gone bad, but when I cut into it, only a quarter had to be tossed into the compost, the rest was edible. Don’t judge a book by its cover, eh!?

Our dustbin demon this week came from my wardrobe. You may be aware I’m doing a grand wardrobe declutter. I’m currently working my way through “One year to an organised life” by Regina Leeds. Is this the part when I tell you that Mr Green bought it me for Christmas? LOL! Don’t worry, I did ask him for it πŸ™‚

Anyway, February is the month of making your bedroom a sanctuary and your wardrobe a veritable organised haven. Well my bedroom is still pretty much a mess, even though this is the last week of my challenge, but I’m kind of getting there with my wardrobe. I’ve sent numerous garments to the charity shop but still have a large shelf of ‘stuff’ to go through. I plan to do that this weekend.

On my shelves I typically found several non clothing items including some old packaging. Ouch. If only I had been more attentive to my wardrobe, I could have got rid of these last year. I found several of the see through plastic bags; you know the sort. Five of them were labelled with the type of plastic, but four of them are unmarked.

So now it’s over to Mr Green. You see one of his missions for 2010 to help us in our goal of producing zero landfill waste, is that he is going to be doing plastics testing. It’s a bit of a ‘don’t try this at home folks’ but so far he has had very conclusive tests on PVC and he’s gradually working his way through the other types of plastic. Once we can identify the plastic, we can determine how to recycle it. And if we can’t recycle it, it will be letters to manufacturers (Cough, Boden, Cough)and a return to sender as a last resort. Or I guess I could keep them and use them to send things out on eBay, but that’s a bit naughty – it’s like letting your dog dump in the neighbour’s garden.

So wish us luck with testing these pesky items, and let’s hope they are of a friendly plastic we can recycle easily.

We had another near miss; Mr Green bought a bottle of wine without checking things out. One of our ‘gotchas’ for 2010 will possibly be a plastic cork. Fortunately Lady Luck shone upon us and this beauty had a real cork plus just foil as a seal – phew! We’ve been caught out on those a few times in the past. Not only that, but it was an exceptionally good bottle of wine!

How about you – any dustbin demons this week or any food waste to report?

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. Alea says:

    I had to toss out some ice-cream that began to sublimate. I did find a tip for using broccoli stems to make broccli slaw though, so that should mean less going into my compost bin in the future.

  2. Regina Leeds says:

    I am so honored you are using my book.

    Don’t worry if you ‘fall behind’ at times. There will be sections that don’t relate to you and you will make up the time. For example, you may not be going on a vacation or moving this year. Perhaps you don’t have a basement or an attic. You get the idea. Also, the book is based on a 4 week month and so every 3 months you have a bonus week built into the system.

    I am in awe of the work you are doing!


  3. Jane says:

    Peeled broccoli stalks are delicious raw. Leeks and cauli with no green sadden me. Plastics with no name and number madden me!

  4. Karen says:

    I buy fruit yohurts for hubbie’s packed lunch. He goes out of the country on business and I am left with out of date yoghurts. Any ideas welcome . I don’t eat them myself.
    I have just opened a large sack of potatoes which came straight from a farm. About half of them were wet and rotten and beginning to smell. Trying to decide if I should put such a large number on the compost heap when it is not really working well in this cold weather. Feels bad putting them in the black bin.

  5. magdalena says:

    I had about a cup of orange juice husband didn’t finish, and it was thick and nasty, so down the drain. We can’t compost here yet, so our waste bin still has vegetable peelings stuff in it.

    Freeze the yoghurts in smaller containers with a skewer or small spoon in them for frozen pops. If you don’t return the potatoes and demand a refund – they shouldn’t be bad if they were stored properly at the farm – then bury them deep in the compost pile so they will “cook” when it does warm up. Potatoes can carry all kinds of pathogens that are bad for your tomatoes and peppers. If that isn’t possible, there’s no sense in damaging next year’s garden with potato viruses, so trash them.

  6. Sian Lawton says:

    How about using the Plastic bags over seed tray to help the seeds germinate.

    sow seeds into the seed tray, water sparily then put the Plastic bag over the seed tray and stick in place with some sticky tape.

    Hopefull this will then help them germinate!

  7. Alea says:

    @Alea: Response to your question about broccoli slaw: No, I didn’t post a full recipe yet, because I did not take accurate measurements when I was experimenting and I want to experiment with making the dressing with out using refined sugar.

    What I used for the broccoli slaw:

    I julienned the broccoli, carrots, a little bit of jicama (though I think apple would be good too) and some cauliflower stems. I diced green onions and celery. Then added some sunflower seeds and almond slivers. (I didn’t have any cabbage, but I might add a bit of shredded cabbage next time).


    1 cup mayonnaise

    2 Tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette (I used Annie’s Naturals because it is gluten free)

    1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon sugar (thinking of trying fructose or agave next time – something with a mild flavor)

    Mix salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl, stir well. Pour dressing over salad, mix until thoroughly coated. Refrigerate at least 3 – 4 hours, until chilled (I let it marinate over night). Serve cold.

    I think there is a lot of room for improvation in this slaw and the ingredients will vary each time I make it depending on what is in my refrigerator.

  8. Karen says:

    @magdalena: Thanks for your response. The potatoes were a gift from the farmer so I can’t return them. I think he got them from another farmer originally.
    As I don’t eat the yoghurts I miss the dates on them so are past use by dates. Not sure if they would then be suitable for freezing. Maybe 2-3 days out. My Husband has said this has happened several times. He must chuck them before I see them.

  9. Karen says:

    @magdalena: @magdalena: Next time you end up with thick orange juice add approx 2 tablespoons of it to one of these compressed packs of dates in a saucepan. Chop the dates first. Check for stones. Heat gently until the dates soften. Take off the heat. Mix until smooth. Put in a small dish and allow to cool. The makes a nice spread for toast or a sandwich.

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @Alea: Alea, thanks for the recipe, it sounds amazing! Sorry to hear about the icecream. I’m very lucky; LMG loves all those chunky bits of crystal – I can’t bear them, but she just crunches them up! I agree about the apple, all my coleslaw has apple in it πŸ˜‰

    @Regina Leeds: Thank you so much for visiting our site and for all that you have done to help people declutter their lives and get organised. You are a true inspiration and have spurred me on to get back on track – thanks!

    @Jane: I like the stems too, not so much raw, but stir fried they are nice and of course they work well in soup. I hear you on the unmarked plastics!

    @Karen: Hi Karen, the yogurts could be frozen for a summer treat – they’ll be fine a couple of days out of date. Bad news on the potatoes. If you put them in your compost heap, you’ll end up with potato plants – don’t know if you would want that or not!
    Love the sound of your date and apple paste – that sounds delicious!

    @Sian Lawton: Great reuse ideas for the plastic bags – mini greenhouses’ thank you for the inspiration!

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