Friday, January 11, 2008

Garbage Diary- Day 4

Sorry this is up late!

At Work

3 tea bags
2 tea bag packets
Label backing
1 box of soup

At Home:

Toothpaste box

On the Town:

Some mac & cheese I didn't eat

I went to a restaurant with a friend for dinner last night, and I was feeling very proud of myself for eschewing the paper napkin, and not creating any trash while dining out, when I realized I did create some trash: the mac and cheese I couldn't finish.

I ate most of it (well, my friend helped me out a little), but there were still probably a few spoonfuls left over.

Chile has been talking about food waste over at her blog. This is a hard one for me because I'm a fairly petite person, and portions are almost always too much for me at restaurants. Sometimes I take food home, but some food doesn't reheat well. That's part of the reason I love eating family style. If you split a few dishes with a bunch of people, as long as you get the ratio of dishes to people right, you shouldn't end up with ridiculous food waste.

I also have a big problem with food waste at home, too. Because I live alone, I find that I have to plan really, really carefully or else I end up with food that's gone bad or has expired. And while I think that a lot of those expiry dates are bogus, I'm reluctant to eat anything more than a couple weeks past its expiration. So now that I'm seriously thinking about my trash and food waste, I try to plan to use foods I already have so I don't waste, but I have to admit it's a little stressful sometimes. And sometimes when I make food, I feel compelled to eat even when I'm full because I don't want to waste food! Which is I guess good in terms of garbage, but bad in terms of my waist line.

Ideally, we'd plan our meals carefully, try to create less food waste, but we'd also have a way to recycle food scraps (even those of us in tiny apartments). Luckily if you live in San Francisco, this is a reality. The city collects food waste from residents and restaurants and it's turned into compost for organic farmers. Hopefully, one day, all cities across the US will implement plans to recycle food waste.


Jackie said...

Are you still cooking and eating more at home? I wasn't sure if you kept it up after your last monthly challenge :)

ruchi said...

I am still trying to cook more and eat more at home, but not to the extent I was in December.

However, one thing I have NOT gone back to is the pre-packaged meals that I used to love from Trader Joes- the ones that you basically get one meal out of it and a whole lot of packaging.

Instead I am either making things at home, or at the very least buying ready made things with multiple servings. One box of soup is about a week's worth of lunches for me.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I think you might drink almost as much tea as I do.

I recycle the bags at home, but there's nothing like that at work and I don't really want to pack them back home!

ruchi said...

You can recycle your tea bags? Do you mean the bit of paper, or does your city collect food waste recycling?

Mouse said...

Hay arduous, you gots an e-mail address?

Chile said...

Here are a couple of ideas for you:

1. At restaurants, see if you can order a half portion or a child-sized portion.

2. Take home your leftovers. If you need to carry a small soft-sided ice chest and food container with you to do so, just put it in your vehicle with a freezer pack before heading out.

3. With leftovers you don't think reheat well, get creative. Mac n' cheese is easy. If you have a lot (not just your couple spoonfuls), bake it with crumb topping. For a couple spoonfuls, throw it in a pot of soup or a fresh pasta dish. Even tired salad can be reused by adding it to a stir fry. (Yep, you can cook lettuce. Who'da thunk?!)

I don't remember the name, but there is a cookbook written entirely about "repurposing" leftovers. Remember, too, that your freezer is your friend. Make garbage soup from collected bits of leftovers! (Just make sure you keep seasonings in mind. Italian and Mexican food go well together but not so great paired with Chinese stirfry, for example)

ruchi said...

mouse, it's arduousblog at gmail dot com.

Anonymous said...

dude, I would have finished the mac and cheese.

Mad Hatter said...

One thing I used to do when I had made too much food for me to finish is to take it to work. I had a couple of friends I usually ate lunch with, so I'd just tell them I'd bring lunch for everyone!