I can’t believe I’ve been so blind. This is really a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.
On the one hand–the “right” hand in this case–I’ve been shopping wisely, comparing supermarkets, clipping coupons, turning off lights and appliances, making my own laundry detergent, washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar, even wiping with re-usable toilet cloth for goodness sake!
On the other hand, I have been letting food rot and throwing it in the garbage! That’s like taking cash money and throwing it in the garbage. It doesn’t matter if I took the bus to Price Chopper and got those asparagus for $2 instead of for $3.50 at Hartman’s. If I let them sit in the fridge for 2 weeks and then throw them in the garbage once they get too smelly to ignore, all my frugal good intentions fly out the window when I waste food like this.
Sigh. I feel so guilty.
But to combat this bad habit that has been plaguing me (without my really acknowledging it) for too long now, I am setting a new challenge for myself: to waste less food!
I realize I should create a measurable goal for myself, like “waste no more than $5 worth of food per week” or “reduce food waste by 50%” but to be honest, I don’t even know how much I’ve been wasting, and so I don’t know exactly what’s reasonable to expect of myself.
But I do have some strategies to achieve “my” goal, and here they are:
– calculate the cost of the food I throw away. This will mean recording what I paid for it (in my Ottawa Grocery Price Book), and then weighing or estimating the value of the waste. Hopefully this will sink into my consciousness that throwing food away isn’t just “cleaning the fridge” but “throwing money in the garbage”.
– not buying anything perishable unless I have a specific plan for it. This means tinkering more carefully with my meal plans and making sure I can work what I buy into the meals I’m planning.
– cleaning out the fridge and freezer (and recording what I’ve wasted) so I can see what’s in there. Also, not storing anything in opaque containers in the fridge, so I can easily see the food I’m storing.
– checking the fridge, freezer and pantry before I plan my meals and/or go shopping, so anything that’s about to go bad can get included in the soonest meal possible.
– probably make more soups, into which I can throw my miscellany of nearly-spoiled vegetables. And then eat them.
I’m hoping this will also help me to be better organized around lunches. There are many days when I forget to plan and then finding myself taking a peanut butter sandwich to work. It’s not really that bad–freshly ground peanut butter on home-made sourdough–but my partner finds it isn’t quite enough to sustain him for the day. Planning my meals more carefully to avoid wasting might force me to make sure I’ve got lunch stuff planned too.
I will report back with my progress, and let you know which strategies work and which don’t. And in the mean time, I’m going to give that asparagus one more sniff . . .