Food waste – perception vs reality

It is Friday, so it’s time to stand up and account for my food waste.

How did I do this week?
Not great. Food wasted:
• 1 kiwifruit
• 1 mandarin
• 1 lime
• ¼ bottle of passata

#foodwastefriday, food waste
This week’s waste – #FoodWasteFriday 26 June 2015

This was an eye opener. I thought I was doing really well and on track for zero food waste this week. Wrong.

Three quarters of people think they waste less than average
I am not alone. I read ‘You’re wasting more food than you think’ in Mother Jones this week. Turns out, most Americans underestimate how much food they waste.

I am curious how my food waste stacks up against the average, so I’m going to estimate the value of each item that goes to waste and see how it tallies up.

Planning and routine
I received some excellent tips from readers about reducing food waste. Two things shone through for me – planning and routine.

I now have a designated spot in the fridge for things that need to be used urgently. I wanted somewhere prominent, to keep “at risk” items front of mind. I chose the bottom shelf, on top of the vegetable crisper. I am also training myself to put things into the fridge so that their expiry date can be seen.

Based on this week’s waste, I’m going to add a more thorough check of the fruit bowl to my routine too.

Save of the week
I had half a head of cabbage sitting in the crisper starting to look sad. I saved it by making a batch of Cabbage, carrot and caraway broth from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage: Light & Easy. Unfortunately, this recipe isn’t published online, but it’s a simple mix of cabbage, carrot, onions and stock – great for cleaning out the fridge and perfect for the cold snap we had this week.

However, my best save was at the grocery store this afternoon. Kiwifruit was on sale for a mere $1.98 a kilo. I was tempted to buy some, but I decided against it after remembering the one I threw out this morning. I wanted to buy it more because it was cheap than because I wanted it. So it stayed on the shelves – it’s not a bargain if it’s just going to end up in the bin.

How did you go with your food waste this week? Do you have any good fridge-clearing recipes to share?

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11 thoughts on “Food waste – perception vs reality”

  1. I think you did pretty well. I discovered a bag of mandarins at the bottom of the fruit bowl this week and half of them had gone squishy and mouldy 😦 It’s pretty hard to stay on top of everything! Dinner leftovers used to be our mail downfall but we’ve been trying to use everything – turning chicken carcasses into stock, leftover veges into soup etc. Every little bit adds up.

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  2. Excellent advice. We hate wasting food. I tried saving herbs, even, by freezing them in an ice cube tray with olive oil. It ended up messy and not such good eats, as it turned out. ~sigh~ I’ll keep striving to do better and appreciate these tips!

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  3. Our favorite clearing-fridge recipes are soup, stirfry and smoothies. Sometimes quickbreads woek too. I’m interested in trying a countertop composter, but we have nowhere to put the compost when it is time to empty (hello city).

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    1. Composting in the city is a real challenge. I couldn’t find a good solution when we lived in an apartment – although I believe a food waste collection service has since started operating (but mainly for businesses not individuals). I have no excuse now. I am just terrible at looking after my worm farm.

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    1. It’s a kind of tomato puree. It freezes really well. Usually I freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays. Alas in this case I though I’d probably use it in a couple of days but I didn’t. I forgot about it and then I thought it was probably too risky to freeze.

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  4. This week I had a lot of waste. Not in the fridge but in my cupboards. I don’t store a huge amount of food, still, realized that I had some tins of sweetcorn, tuna and spices well out of date. Lesson: don’t store anything. Nearest shop is only a couple of mins walk. 🙂

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    1. You’re not alone there. What I am really trying to avoid is buying a new addition to my spice collection that I’ll only use for one specific thing. That is a recipe for waste!

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  5. I just found your blog and think this is such a good idea! Have you found that doing it in public has helped more than just giving yourself a stern talking to?

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    1. Hi Pip, without a doubt going public has helped a huge deal. Sure I’d let myself out but that just led to feelings of guilt and not much else. Going public has made me much more action orientated and less guilty. The other great benefit is getting to connect with so many others about this topic – it seems to be something that so many people can relate to.

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