Zero Waste Week: Day 1 – what a lot of food!

So Zero Waste Week is upon us!

Enthusiastic as I am about the concept, where do I start?

I reckon my main aims for this week are:

1. Consume food approaching the Use By dates before it’s too late; and
2. Get portion sizes correct so there’s no waste at the end of meals.

I thought I’d tackle number 1 early, so over the weekend I grabbed my notebook and got to work on a little cupboard audit.


We have quite a lot of food in the house and it’s not especially well organised. And it doesn’t just stay in one cupboard – there’s the fridge, fruit bowls and another cupboard. Here are some photos of our food storage pre-audit…

Big cupboard

photo (109)


Small cupboard

photo (126)


photo (144)

photo (143)


photo (148)


Before I even got started on my list of food needing used up,  I made a key discovery – we bring far too much of the stuff into the house in the first place!  A little overwhelmed, I carried on.

For an hour or two, I tidied, I separated, I made a list and I THREW OUT.

I know! and I’m sorry! but before I’d even got started on the challenge of Zero Waste Week I found I had wasted food that it was too late to salvage. Once again, I was surprised because (despite the mess) I do regularly root through my food storage and remove things past their date.

However, looking on the bright side, Zero Waste Week is a fresh start and a chance to learn and create new habits, right? So come on let’s get cracking and look at the positives!

High Point Number 1:
I rescued some things that were just about to go out of date:
• Stock granules
• Ground cumin
• A bag of purple kale – it took a few twitter conversations to establish what it was and how to use it, but I got there!
• Pak choi – I had to cut pieces off some leaves, but most of it was still edible
• 14 beetroots (Q: is finding 14 beetroots ever a high point? A: Yes, when you find a recipe for beetroot and chocolate cake!)

High Point Number 2:
I found some items in my cupboard that were due to go off within the next two months which I’d probably have lost:
• Treacle
• Seeds
• Plain wholemeal flour

High Point Number 3:
Some ‘exciting’ ingredients were discovered that means I can have some fun with new recipes:
• Dried cranberries
• Hot curry powder
• Colemans mustard powder
• Cayenne Chilli Pepper
• Poppy Seeds

So dinner tonight was a stir fry to use up the pak choi with noodles and fruit for desert.

photo (146)


Good luck to everyone embarking on the challenge of Zero Waste Week – if anyone knows this isn’t just about cleaning your plate, it’s me. There’ll probably be more cooking, more freezing, more careful shopping plus some running round the neighbours with perishable food you can’t get through!

Before I sign off for the night, can I suggest that if you find anything non-perishable in the cupboards that you won’t eat, please consider taking it along to your nearest Foodbank – they recently benefited from a jar of hot curry sauce and a surplus of biscuits from me!

Thanks everyone for your support and comments – see you tomorrow.

zero waste week 2013 header logo


If you want to catch up on the previous posts on this subject, please click here and here.

10 thoughts on “Zero Waste Week: Day 1 – what a lot of food!

  1. Loving your attitude. I always tell people to ditch the guilt. You’re right – zero waste week is about opportunities – to see how we could improve things. Like you, we always have a lot of food in the house 😉 I think some people are natural hoarders when it comes to feeding the family!

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