Zero Waste Week Day 7: where no experience is wasted

zero waste week 2013 header logo

So Zero Waste Week is drawing to a close – have I been a Zero Hero?

Erm…well, no.

Not if we’re being strict. Not if the challenge was to reduce my food waste to zero.

Isn’t life so difficult though if you’re a perfectionist?

Isn’t it agonising to stay completely within the rules for everything?

Is a miss as good as a mile?

Happily with this challenge, although I didn’t win the gold medal, I have come away armed with lots of little prizes, in the form of new knowledge nuggets – hooray! Even better I’m going to share them so that if you want, we can go for gold together.

Knowledge Nugget 1: less food = less waste
The biggest revelation I’ve had this week (and I do feel a bit self-conscious putting it down on paper as it’s so darned obvious) is the less food I brought into the house, the less waste I have.

In short, I’m a great one for trying new recipes sometimes even to use up things in the fridge but I’m short sighted. I buy ingredients, make the recipe they were intended for and leave them languishing in my cupboard assuming I’ll use them again at some unspecified time. This is the reason that when I sorted out my cupboards at the start of the week I found an eclectic collection of foodstuffs – mustard powder, poppy seeds, ground cumin…

Knowledge Nugget 2: planning is everything
If I aim to have zero waste, I must plan to achieve this goal. When planning recipes or impulse buying at the food shop, I need to know that I can use an item in its entirety to justify its purchase.

Knowledge Nugget 3: reduced food waste means increased cash
Again it’s obvious but if I’m not wasting food, I’m saving money because I’m buying less. Nice.

So, will I ever be a Zero Hero?

Actually yes, I think I will and I don’t think it will be long until I master the skill of reducing my food waste to zero. I’m motivated and I’ve had a week of intensive practice to find out what mistakes I made and to reflect on correcting them.

For me, life is hectic. I’m shopping and cooking while looking after small children. I forget things (such as what’s in my fridge) or they don’t even register with me in the first place (did we really get fennel in the veg box this week?) so my chosen path to Zero Waste is going to be lists and audits!

Anything perishable that won’t be used up automatically (such as milk) will be listed and displayed prominently in the kitchen. I will do a cupboard audit every two months to catch things with longer Best Before Dates before they go off.

Simple, but I think to reduce food waste it only takes a few small changes!

Before I sign off, I want to say thanks to everyone who’s followed my blog this week, reblogged it, retweeted it and for the comments!  I so much appreciate them all. It’s been an exciting week for me – learning new skills and making connections.

Good luck everyone in your quest for zero food waste!

I’ll leave you with the before Zero Food Week and after pictures of my food cupboard. Only two items were removed for being past their Use By dates – the rest of the space is due to using up food and rearranging! Thanks Zero Waste Week!

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To read the previous posts on this topic, click on the links below:

Can I be a zero hero?

Revved up & raring to go

Day 1: what a lot of food

Day 2: leftovers, limp leaves & lunch

Day 3:the dreaded veg…

Day 4: chopping & more chopping

Day 5: some weeks are tricky

Day 6: it’s about… zero waste


3 thoughts on “Zero Waste Week Day 7: where no experience is wasted

  1. what an amazing week you’ve had. I Love all your tips, and you’re right – it’s the no-brainer ones that make the difference.

    A friend and I who have been trying to get together for ages, but both been too busy were talking last night when I had a sudden epiphany. I said “All we have to do is prioritise THIS instead of our other busy stuff” and she’s now coming over this afternonn at 3pm.

    It was no great revelation, but it took that moment for the common sense approach to drop in.
    So I’m with you, bring less into the house and there’s less to waste. Simple., yet profound…

  2. I’m impressed you’ve managed all this with small children! Our waste has gone up phenomenally since having kids. It’s made worse by the fact that, from meal to meal, they range from eating a full adult-sized portion, to grudgingly swallowing a few spoonfuls. I never know how much to make! Today Gwen gobbled all her pasta and wanted more, but wouldn’t touch her pork chop. Austin ate all his meat but hated the pasta. I got them to swap leftovers….a fun way to stop them from going to waste.

    • I had to make time!…but it was worth it 🙂 Meal times are always ‘fun’ with wee ones aren’t they?! Mine are generally good eaters and there are certain dishes they will both always eat. We’ve also realised that if they leave anything, we can just eat it!

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