Food waste and a January cooking challenge

Needless to say, these didn’t go to waste.

Articles and recipes about leftovers abound during the holidays, especially around Thanksgiving. But what’s a poor pan of leftovers to do the rest of the year? Not end up in the trash, we hope. That’s like throwing away money.

The folks at I Value Food are here to help with ideas to avoid food waste and some composting info, too. Sustainable America asked their staff about ways to avoid food waste and shares their very practical advice. If you are wondering why this is a thing beyond trying to be smart about your money and your food, then check out NPR’s food waste series; food waste is a huge drain on the economy and environment.

Last January, I decided to cook as much as possible out of stuff already in my cupboards, freezer, etc. after reading this NY Times blog post. I’ve decided to do it every January in my home and hope you will join me! We can save money, reduce waste, and declutter the kitchen at the same time! It’s fun to go to the grocery store and only get some milk and a few perishables.

What happens to the stuff we can’t eat even with using these ideas? As a gardener, my fruit and vegetable waste and yard waste goes into the compost. Other food waste went into the trash until my city started collecting organics* in my neighborhood. This means all that other food waste that I couldn’t compost at home is now diverted from the landfill and used to make energy.

Left: bin where I used to collect my compost, now gone for recycling. Right: Glad to replace the larger yellow bin with smaller food waste bin provided by my city’s program. In summer, I’ll have just this brown bin and a small bowl for the day’s backyard compost.

I have a small bucket on my counter with a biodegradable liner to collect the food waste and a rolling cart to put out on the curb each week. Between that and recycling, we have a lot less actual trash headed for the landfill, a big win in my book. I have to say I don’t mind skipping the trudge to the compost bin through the snow this winter. Will I still compost? Absolutely, as soon as I  have more fresh vegetable waste and yard waste, it’ll go into the backyard compost. And I just realized that I can put the creeping bellflower** into the organics cart, too, hooray!


*all types of food waste and paper-based waste with food residue on it (paper towels, napkins, plates, pizza boxes)

**composting invasive plants is never a good idea

3 thoughts on “Food waste and a January cooking challenge

  1. Pingback: Garden to Table, March 2016 OR There and back again, a cold frame’s journey | Yarnstead

  2. Cooking from storage is indeed an art! I am hoping to (mostly) do that until the CSAs start up again in June. Alas, needing extra things (cream cheese, limes) for recipes posts proves to be an even bigger challenge than craving salad!

  3. Pingback: Stuck in the meal planning rut: when you don’t follow your own advice – Yarnstead

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