I’m very excited today to host a guest post by Aviva Goldfarb, author of SOS!: The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue. My family has really benefited from her recipes, advice, and tips. Today Aviva writes about how to avoid waste in the kitchen, a topic so many of us can relate to!
Don’t Toss Your Cash along with Your Trash!
If I asked you to reach into your wallet and crumple up a couple of twenty dollar bills and throw them away, you’d probably think I was crazy and ignore me, right? But that’s essentially what most Americans are doing each and every week!
According to an article I read recently in On Earth magazine, “Americans waste 30 – 40% of their food, or the equivalent of about 2 full meals a day.” Other studies put the amount of food we waste at closer to 15 or 20%, but however high the number, it’s certainly too high. Yet there is a lot we can do to reduce our waste and its environmental impact.
There are big economic and environmental costs of all this wasted food. Few of us can afford to throw away money each week on uneaten food. And all this extra food has to be produced and transported before it’s eaten and even after it’s discarded, resulting in higher energy costs and emissions.
My best defenses against wasted food are planning ahead before grocery shopping, keeping a grocery list on the refrigerator for all family members to update, and using up as much leftover food as possible in a final meal or two before doing the weekly shopping. (I call this the Sixth Night Scavenge.)
Even if you do plan your meals and cook at home, you’re bound to have some waste. Last year my family started composting as a way to reuse some of our waste and reduce the amount of trash that has to be hauled from our curb. While the thought of composting was a little intimidating, it turns out to be the easiest thing in the world! (To see how easy it is, you might want to look at the short instructional video my son and I made, Easy Composting 1-2-3 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n5L9fE24HA.)
Each day I collect our fruit and vegetable rinds, peels and ends, along with any egg shells and coffee grounds, in a bowl on the kitchen counter. At the end of the day I dump the bowl’s contents into a large plastic kitty litter bin I keep under our kitchen sink. When the bin is full (every 2 or 3 weeks), we dump the contents in a pile in our back yard, rinse the bin with the hose, and start over. This summer we’ll use some of the compost to enrich our garden, but until then, we can feel good knowing that we reduced the amount of waste that is transported and takes up space in local landfills.
There is so much we can easily do to reduce our food waste in our homes. By planning ahead for our meals, making and sticking to our grocery lists, using up food before we buy more, and composting some of our waste, we can save so much money on our groceries, and reduce the environmental toll of all this wasted food. Please share your ideas for reducing waste with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aviva Goldfarb is a mother of two and the author and founder of The Six O’Clock Scramble®, www.thescramble.com, an online weekly menu planner and cookbook (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), and is author of the new cookbook, “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010).
Thanks, Aviva! Now, on to the giveaway, and what a wonderful giveaway it is! The winner will not only receive a copy of “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families”, they’ll also receive a a 3 month subscription to the Scramble service (http://thescramble.com)
To enter, please fill out the form below. Comments will not be counted as entries. Open to US and Canadian residents only, please. No P.O. Boxes. The winner will be announced on Friday, June 25th.