Reduce food waste through thoughtfulness

CTWW - Change The World WednesdaysI recently accepted a challenge to reduce our food waste by using up what we already have before buying any new, including dining out. There are new challenges every Wednesday, so feel free to join in!

What do you think when you hear this challenge? Do you think it would be difficult? Does it just make sense? Does it sound like what you already do or would you need to start cutting out some extraneous purchases because it just sounds good?

Farmers Market VeggiesHow many times have you let perishables go bad before you were able to use them? How many times have you reached for the can/carton of soup and realized it was well past its expiration date?

I know that I have.

A delicious and healthy green smoothieI have recently begun a journey into green smoothies for myself (and my children) which has reduced a lot of food waste – particularly fruits, vegetables, and a lot of the other things I have been learning how to throw in there. I have been able to buy in bulk and freeze what I don’t use right away. I have yet to have a fruit or vegetable go to waste yet.

The Ozonator, The Green Refrigerator MachineI was also sent a new product to try out that aims to reduce food waste as well. The Ozonator, The Green Refrigerator Machine is an award-winning, laboratory tested, FDA approved, newly patented device that cleanses and purifies the air inside the refrigerator keeping fruits, vegetables and perishables lasting longer – extending their useful life and health benefits.  It works by replicating the Earth’s natural Ozone, delaying the onset of mold and decay, keeping food crisper and fresher. It is supposed to be able to save households up to $500 a year in unspoiled foods. Wouldn’t that be great?

The point of the challenge is to change your lifestyle so that you don’t have to think quite so hard about food going to waste. Having an option for fruits and veggies to make a healthy smoothie is one way to help. Trying out a device in your refrigerator that will allow your food to stay fresher longer is another.

But, what about thinking more carefully about what you buy when you go to the store, the farmers market, or even when you get your CSA box? What about planning your meals and snacks so you don’t need extra trips to the store before you have used up everything in the fridge, freezer, and cupboards that need to be?

I don’t deny that reducing extra purchases are going to save you money and other resources (especially if you drive), but I wonder how feasible it is to actually use everything you own before making another purchase.

The bottom line is that making better choices when you buy, making better choices when you make meals and snacks, and paying closer attention to expiration dates on anything that comes in a container is going to be most impactful.

The question is: can you, will you, do it?

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Reduce food waste through thoughtfulness — 22 Comments

    • Isn’t it a great challenge? I can still remember growing up and thinking about the starving children in Ethiopia if we were wasting food. Now I realize that it doesn’t quite work that way, but thinking about using leftovers more, or in a different way, is bound to have an effect on your food bill and the amount of waste your family creates!

  1. Wonderful post! I’ve seen write-ups about the Ozonator so I’ll be interested to find out what you think about it. I really like the “thoughtfulness” aspect … so many of our actions, and purchases, are more or less automatic … or impulsive. Thinking about how we’ll use an item and planning meals around it really will keep us from buying too much and wasting. It’s a new mindset for many people, though … we often think more is better and having a stockpile of food items makes us somehow safer and prepared. In reality, if we end up tossing those things … we’re really not prepared for anything.

    Thanks for taking the challenge and sharing your thoughts! :-)
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    • Thanks for hosting! I do believe that we are entering a new era where current lifestyles are not going to be sustainable, this is just one area. I think the extreme coupon and stockpile mentality is an interesting one, and could be the hardest to change. I suppose it depends on what you are buying, why, and how you are using those foods.

      I’ll let you know when I do my Ozonator trial!

    • Thanks! It is easy to think that food scraps will biodegrade once they go get picked up with the trash, but interestingly they are produce methane in the landfill and can cause pollutants to our waterways. Composting is something I hope to talk about soon – for the inevitable inedible food scraps.

  2. When I read about the challenge, my first thought was it would require no change at all. I have drastically cut back our consumption, shelves are empty, pantry bare. But still there are always a few veggies left over from last week, our lesser favorites normally. So I’m off to look up a couple of recipes for turnips and beets. They shall be gone forthwith! Thank you for the inspiration. I’m also a big green smoothie fan.
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    • Good for you! I didn’t think that I would have to change much, but it was a different way of thinking that informed this post. Green smoothies are still new in my life, but I can see their value increasing for health, using up food, and trying new things. I am sure there will be more I learn as I go along too. ;)

  3. Great “food for thought” Brenna. During the school year I am normally pretty good planning meals and not wasting food. But the summer changes things so this challenge came at the perfect time for me. I have been able to feed my family fairly well for 9 days with minimal shopping (a few fresh fruits, veggies and milk).

  4. Damsel, you aren’t the last one, I haven’t heard of it, either.

    It is interesting that you mention the CSA use. The Mister and I are avid supporters of the concept but finally had to let our membership go because we just couldn’t keep up with it–even though we were getting the small box every other week. I now shop at the local farmer’s market but my eyes are still sometimes bigger than my plans (I *do* try to make up a meal plan for the week before I head out the door).

    I am tiptoeing my way into green smoothies. We’ve had fruit smoothies since I was peer pressured into buying a VitaMix in 2001. The green color of the veggie smoothies always made me think that they weren’t going to taste very good. I had my first one today and I’ll admit that it was rather tasty!

    Sorry for the long-windedness. All of this just to say I love your challenge!

    • We have tried CSAs in the past without success. I am honestly only able to keep up with the amount we get in a small box because of the green smoothies. It really is a great way to use all that other stuff you aren’t quite sure what to do with.

      That said, I think we all need to use that thoughtfulness deciding whether or not to go the CSA route at all, whether to buy that certain something at the farmers market, or to take that trip to the store. That is what will prevent waste.

  5. Aren’t smoothies just the most fantastic thing for reducing food waste. I’ve not heard of an oaonator but would love to hear how you get on with one. I once bought a couple of ‘fresh pod’ things but they were next to useless and obviously just a gimmick that didn’t work. As you say, it’s all about taking a step back and being thoughtful BEFORE we hit the shops!
    Mrs Green @ recently posted..Happiness month day 15 – Home grown food

  6. Pingback: Clean out the fridge to save energy and money! |

  7. I’ve seen write-ups about the Ozonator so I’ll be interested to find out what you think about it. In reality, if we end up tossing those things … we’re really not prepared for anything.

  8. I am getting my experiment ready, so hopefully I will have a good review to post soon on its effectiveness. We have tried CSAs in the past without success. I have drastically cut back our consumption, shelves are empty, pantry bare. I had my first one today and I’ll admit that it was rather tasty!
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