Zero Waste Week (Days Three and Four): Waste Free Food and Shopping

During Zero Waste Week I’ve been tuning into #zerowasteweek hour on twitter for some great tips and ideas on reducing waste. One of the most common topics has been food waste which got me thinking about our household.

I like to think that we are quite good on reducing food waste. I meal plan for the month so that I know what we need to buy. I’m still struggling with emptying all the contents of our veg box but now that we’re (almost) into soup season this should be less of a problem. I also have this very handy note attached to the inside of my cuboard door to remind me how much pasta or rice to cook for our family (originally from Love Food Hate Waste website).

Zero Waste Week: rice and pasta measurements

But there is definitely more that I can do to avoid an overflowing compost bin. So, as I tend to do one large supermarket shop each month, I sat down and meal planned everything (breakfasts, lunches incl packed lunches and evening meals). This meant I could order the right amount of food. Yet even when I know what food we have and how to turn it into meals there is still the problem of packaging.

For convenience sake (I don’t have regular access to a car, I try to stick to a strict budget) I order one large supermarket delivery every month, interspersed with fortnightly veg and fruit boxes, regular milk deliveries, some refills at local health food stores and small trips to the local shops. Apart from the first activity (which I try to order as waste free as possible) I have learnt to make the other shopping trips as packaging free as possible.

This week I was able to pick up fruit and veg from the local greengrocers as I had transport – and I tried out a new independent butchers so was able to get my meat from there (with far less packaging, but it would be great to re-use my containers for this). Because I use the brilliant Onya produce bags, and our greengrocers have paper bags my shopping haul looked like this:

Zero Waste Week: package free grocery shopping

I was also able to pop into Harvest Health Food Store in Bath and refill my washing up and laundry liquid containers:

IMG_0083

I also decided to go all out this morning and do a massive baking session so that we can rely less on pre-wrapped cakes and biscuits. This is what my kitchen looked like afterwards (there was a lot of washing up so lucky I’d got by bio-d refills the day before):

Zero Waste Week: home baking

But the end result was: stewed plums and apples; plum flapjacks; oat and apple muffins; fruit cake; gingerbread dough (to freeze and make biscuits with at a later date) and fairy cakes (I always make a batch of simple fairy cakes when the oven is one – I just freeze them and the kids decorate at a later date).

Zero Waste Week: package free (and home baked) goodies

So we now have fully stocked cupboards, freezer and I hope we will have an emptier bin and compost as a result!

 

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3 thoughts on “Zero Waste Week (Days Three and Four): Waste Free Food and Shopping

  1. Kathryn, that’s an amazing couple of day’s work. I truly admire people who can meal plan and batch bake. I have the best of intentions for both but fail miserably. I love the concept of convenience food that has been homecooked – it has such a feel good ring to it. Hope the month goes smoothly now you’ve done all that hard work with preparation!

  2. This is really inspiring Kathryn. Its much easier for us now that we’re just two at home not four or six, and we’re pretty careful about how we shop, but even so we find that packaging is most of what’s in our ‘waste’ bin these days.
    My real bugbear is the plastic milk containers – we always recycle them, but I’d love to find an affordable way of just not using them in the first place (but still being able to have my milk!) – any bright ideas?

  3. We still get a milk delivery from Dairy Crest in Bath. It’s reliable (even in the snow!), and, of course, the glass bottles are washed and returned. However the production of glass milk bottles is being phased out in the UK in 2017 which is a real shame. I do pay more for my milk but I like the ‘zero waste’ aspect of it. There is a petition,
    organised by plastic is rubbish blog that you can sign to ask Dairy Crest to reconsider the ceasing production of the glass bottles.http://plasticisrubbish.com/2015/06/12/save-our-bottles/

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