Over the last few years my family and I have been making efforts to reduce our food waste and I thought that I was pretty good at making the most of the food we buy. Having written about reducing food waste for my book, 101 Ways to Live Cleaner and Greener for Free, I was pretty well versed on the standard waste reduction tricks of planning meals, shopping locally and making good use of leftovers.
But I knew just by looking at how packed full of food my fridge was on day one of Zero Waste Week 2013, that there was room for improvement.
I decided that I was going to set myself the task of emptying my fridge and it was pretty successful too. I bought nothing all week, yet we ate really well and had a great time preparing our food. But did we learn anything and has it had a lasting effect?
The whole family have been vigilant ever since about what we buy, what needs to be eaten up first and how we can make best use of everything. I haven't actually measured my food spending, but I feel we spend around 25 to 30% less on food than we used to.
It will soon be time for this year's Zero Waste Week which runs from 1st to 7th September and although it has a new focus this year, I'm planning to have a fridge clear out again, to see how things compare to last year and to hopefully come up with a few more use it up recipes for my next book, which a year later is finally taking shape.
The theme for Zero Waste Week 2014 is 'One More Thing' - what one more thing could you do to reduce your waste this year? I'm looking forward to finding out what ideas other people come up with, but my own 'One More Thing' is this…
This time last summer, I had a huge clear out and managed to send 80 bags of 'stuff' to my local community shop, to reuse programmes or to recycling. Along with a fair quantity of shoes and clothes we parted with lots of books, toys and games that I hope are now entertaining other families. The one thing that I didn't do, though, was to mend anything so I built up an accumulation of things I didn't know what to do with because they were broken.
So this year, I'm going to have another clear out, taking a room each day of Zero Waste Week, aiming to part with at least 3 things we no longer need and dealing with anything that's broken or needs a good clean up. I'm going to try to repair or repurpose the broken things - with the help of all those other people who are joining the Zero Waste Week challenge. Like last year, when ideas from other people helped me use up my jars from the fridge, I'm hoping to call on other people's expertise to get better at mending.
To join in, you can sign up on the Zero Waste Week web page, here.