As I have mentioned before I hate waste of any kind so over the past few weeks I have been looking at ways to reduce food wastage.
A chance conversation with my very good friend Pippa and I am the proud owner of a ‘compost bin’ and I am as happy as a pig in mud 🙂
We were having coffee discussing the #LiveLagom project and I said I was looking at our food waste as part of the Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) project and needed to reduce the amount of food I was throwing away as well as get a compost bin. Pippa said ‘I have a spare one, never been used; you are very welcome to it’. Well she didn’t need to ask me twice, the next day she was walking down the road with it under her arm (so to speak)
Where to put the composter in the garden, that was accessible but out the way. After lots of reading up on the subject of COMPOSTING on the local council site www.lesswaste.org.uk I decided to put it in between a tree trunk and a stone step that had a bit of dead space between it.
In this position it will receive sun during the summer months as well as shade from the tree but more importantly it is in view of the back door so no excuse for not using it!
The next step was to find something to collect the peelings, tea bags and other food material into whilst it was being collected in the kitchen. An old plastic mushroom box was just the job: it isn’t too large but holds enough very LiveLagom.
Getting the combination right: I need to ensure I have a good mix of ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ material going into the compost bin or ‘greens’ and ‘browns’ to ensure the right texture is achieved. I didn’t know there was such a science to it!
Green waste provides plenty of bacteria and nitrogen to the compost and brown waste contains carbon. Too much green and I will end up with a sloppy mess, too much brown and I will house ants and woodlice. YUK! The other thing I need to consider is rats and mice especially as we live next to open fields. Double YUK!
Well I have made a start so watch this space to see how successful (or not) I am as I now need to keep filling the composter and wait then for about 6 months for the finished product!
So no pressure Pip but I’ve made a start, so can you and we can compare compost then! 🙂
I now need to go on a visit to the Leicester Botanical Gardens at the University to see their composting demonstration site and talk t the experts to pick up some top tips. http://www.carryoncomposting.com who knows I may become a ‘Master Composter’ yet 🙂
If there is one thing that makes me mad, it is seeing food being wasted and going in the bin. Food is expensive to buy and produce and with all the talk of supermarkets, farmers and food wastage I knew we had a part to play too.
About 5 years ago I wrote the Love Food Hate Waste training programme for Leicestershire County Council so I knew about ‘sell by/ use by dates’ what to freeze as well as making other meals out of left overs. I have always written a list before shopping and I had an idea of what we would be eating for the week. I taught the programme so there was nothing I could learn right?…wrong!
I kept a diary of all our family food wastage (before I started using the composter) for one week and was amazed at what we were throwing away. Bread (ends, toast and pulled off bits), bagels (gone mouldy), pasta (cooked too much), bananas (I had frozen to use at a later date but my daughter had decided to use as a cold compress in the middle of the night!) cereals (too much poured out and ran out of time to eat it) juice that hadn’t been drunk etc etc… In total I estimated we were throwing out the equivalent to about £8 a week or £32 – £40 a month. Criminal.
I deduced the problem was the family 😉 but I couldn’t change them!
Hubbie is gluten-free so cannot have the same wheat-based foods as the rest of the family and where in the past he would finish off bread/pasta/bagels etc this wasn’t happening. I tend not to eat bread and pasta but the teens love it.
The next issue was time…time to eat. Breakfast is a bit chaotic with everyone helping themselves and rushing out the door to get to school/work on time. The final issue appeared to be portion control, too much being cooked for the people eating. The teens were and are the biggest wasters of food in the family and I think part of the problem is that they don’t buy it with their own money so it doesn’t cost them.
Get the teens up earlier! Obvious but not going to happen. I can save bread/toast/bagels in the freezer to use in a bread and butter pudding for when guests come over or use it in one of my cookery classes when I have collected enough or just limit the amount of bread I buy.
I have a spaghetti pasta measurer from the LFHW project and need to find a measuring cup for other types of pasta and ensure the teens use it to control the amount of pasta they cook.
So lets see how much difference it makes over the next few weeks. I think the biggest thing I learnt was to make sure I revisit #foodwastage at least once a year to see what bad habits we have picked up!
Growing your own doesn’t have to be about gardening and working outside…a window sill works just as well. I have started growing carrot tops, onions, leeks, cabbage and I have even managed to get a lemon pip to start to grow 🙂 No soil needed!