There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:
- Special Announcement
- The #CTWW Gang
- The Honor Society
- My Final Thoughts on Last Week's Challenge
- This Week's Challenge
Last week we attempted to reduce/eliminate food waste. It sounds easy but when put into practice, it's not always that simple. As I wandered around, reading your tips and ideas, I was so impressed with your approach to a problem ... and the many creative solutions you shared.
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing a post about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Let's see what they had to say this week:
EcoGrrl has conquered food waste in her house. What doesn't get eaten gets composted, either in her backyard or in the collection bins provided by the city. Yep, Portland now accepts all food for composting. How great is that!! She shared a terrific link which you can read here: 163 Things You Can Compost (wow ... melted ice cream??). Before composting veggie scraps, however, she suggests that we use them to make veggie broth and freeze it. Thanks, EcoGrrl!
Argentum Vulgaris doesn't waste much but shares that he remains vigilant against the occassional bit of discarded food. In this POST he offers some tips that are not only Eco-friendly but frugal as well. He's been composting for a long time and says that shrimp shells, chicken bones, egg shells and coffee grounds all get added to the heap. After reading EcoGrrl's comments, AV wrote this ARTICLE. In it he talks about how composting has enabled him to grow vegetables in his concrete garden. Be sure to read the end of the post ... there's a link to information about how to compost including tips for those living in cooler climates. Thanks, AV!
Katie was a #CTWW Super Star this week. In Waste No Food she offers tips and some very interesting charts. One of them shows the #1 wasted food item in the US ... I think it'll surprise you ... it did me! Here's another idea from Katie: Leftovers Pie. She also found this link: 10 Tips to Reduce Food Waste During the Holidays. Katie gave us an update on the Vegan For A Day challenge HERE (can you believe she went meatless for Thanksgiving?) and offered us another wonderful Eco-friendly decorating idea HERE. Wow, Katie ... you've been busy! Thanks so much!
NonMom recently noticed a pattern to what gets tossed out. She hates waste and losing her hard-earned dollars. So, her solution to the problem is to simply not buy those foods. Brilliant! She shared some interesting information regarding our energy challenge ... she recently learned that her water heater was set way too high (probably by the previous owners of her home). It has been adjusted and should save both energy and money. Another tip she has for us is covering the windows with film ... she says that the savings last year were impressive. By the way, if you happen to have any bubble wrap around, just moisten the bubble side and place it on the windows (the moisture acts like glue) ... works great. Thanks, NonMom!
Marcy recommends the book "American Wasteland" which explores waste throughout the food system. She wrote Waste not, want not with some wonderful tips. One of them includes foil wrap ... hm ... can you guess how it's used? In another tip she shares how long leftovers can safely be kept. Any guesses? Head on over to find out! Thanks, Marcy!
I knew that Mrs. Green would like this challenge ... waste, especially food waste, is her passion. She wants to focus more on using the freezer but she's got the refrigerator items managed. Click HERE for her very creative zero-waste system. It's brilliant! Awhile back, Mrs. Green told us about a little gadget which is going to save a lot of energy. I have to admit that I had never heard of this device. Bet your curiosity is up, huh? Find out about it in Saving money on electricity - one simple step. Thanks, Mrs. Green
What do you do with tired fruits and veggies? Do you toss them? Rewinn doesn't ... he uses them! In Thankful for Corn, Crocosmia, and Family he shares a recipe for cheesecake (yep, it uses tired fruit), talks about his Eco-friendly decorating this year and tells us what happened to Thanksgiving leftovers. In Mutant Turkey Thanksgiving he talks about how his turkey actually helped him meet this week's challenge. Thanks, Rewinn!
Are you familiar with The River Wanders? It a great blog which discusses many of the social & political issues of our time ... all in a "real person" way. There is a great quote in the header "Apathy - the glove into which evil slips its hand; Action - the antidote to evil." The one thing you won't find in The River Wanders is apathy. The author, a very talented writer, touches on controversial subjects with honesty and heart. If you haven't visited, I highly recommend that you do. I was recently thrilled to read #BlackFriday, Thanksgiving Thursday, & #CTWW where Reduce Footprints got a lovely mention. But that's not all, the author shares something which her family does each year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving ... it's Eco-friendly and helps a bunch of people. Thanks, TRW!
Alicia has a freezer which helps her cut down on waste. If she sees that veggies or leftovers aren't going to be used, she freezes them and then, later, they make perfect ingredients for a quick soup, stew, etc. Not only does she eliminate waste this way, she saves money! As she says "Double Savings". Thanks, Alicia!
Kris says that her "minamalist approach" to meals helps her eliminate waste. That sounds interesting! In this POST she gives us more information on that and shares how sending guests home with leftovers and composting also help maintain zero-waste. Thanks, Kris!
Several online publications picked up #CTWW posts. The Food and Gardening Daily, The One Foot In Reality Daily and The Shopping Charity all contained articles. Was yours listed in any of them? Thank you all so much!
Would you consider dumpster diving a method for reducing food waste? How about becoming a Freegan? These are just a few of the concepts Stephanie shared this week in Dumpster diving anyone? But never fear ... if rummaging through a trash bin isn't for you, she shares a bunch of other ideas ... ones that don't involve any diving at all. Thanks, Stephanie!
Kristina decided to take a look at food scraps and see if she could find uses for them. She found so many uses that she couldn't fit them all into one post. So, she chose to write about one. In Change The World Wednesday - Lemons she shares a ton of uses for lemon peels ... the stuff that we typically toss out. Did you know that they can soften your elbows? That's just one of the many ways to use them. Head over to Kristina's place to read about other uses. Thanks, Kristina!
When Rachel read this challenge she said Waste food? Me? Never! But then, two clementines and nine apples (some bruised) gave her pause ... and promted action. So what did she do? Here's a hint ... it involves an ice tray. Thanks, Rachel!
Think it's hard to convey an idea in 140 characters or less? These folks seem to have no problem and offered us some great ideas this week:
-If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, you can always package portions & freeze them for lunches
-Wash veggies & save the peels for a soup base. After you've extracted flavor & nutrients, compost peels
-Modify recipes for the appropriate portions. No need to make 10 portions for 5 people. Half the recipe
-Don't like bread crusts for sandwiches? Save them for stuffing or dry them for making meatloaf, etc.
-I have zero food waste by putting all pulp from juicing and other peelings into compost pits.
-The challenge from ChangeTheWorldWednesday this week is:waste no food for a week!Harder than it sounds!Do you make a weekly meal plan?
Finally, Reduce Footprints was recently honored by being included in the Top 50 Green Living Blogs sponsored by Seametrics. And guess what ... some of your blogs were included on the list as well. WhooHoo!
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:
My Final Thoughts: Waste of any kind is terrible ... but food waste seems particularly bad. It is like money down the drain (or more specifically, in the landfill) and in these hard economic times, who can afford to toss money away. From an environmental standpoint, rotting food produces methane which contributes to global warming. It also contaminates our waterways as the high concentration of degrading nutrients causes plant "blooms", robbing streams and rivers of vital oxygen. And then there is the human aspect of wasting food. There have been many periods in history when food was scarce. Today, there are more than a few places on the earth where a full stomach is a luxury. It's a sobering thought! Eliminating food waste may be one of the most important, life-changing actions we can take ... and it's really not so hard.
Great job, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.
This Week's Challenge:
At the beginning of November, we took an energy reading and then spent the month trying to reduce that number by 10%. Now we're going to finish up that challenge. Here you go:
Energy Challenge, Part 2: Throughout the month of December, please take another reading and report back on your efforts. We'd like to know what worked, what didn't, and any lessons learned. This will be an information sharing challenge and hopefully we'll discover more effective ways to minimize our energy consumption.
Special Announcement: Part 2 of our Energy Challenge will be the last challenge of the year. After the December Vegan Recipe goes up, I'll be taking a break from blogging to spend the holidays with my family. It has been an amazing year of Change The World Wednesday ... we have taken on so many activities and, in my opinion, made the world a better place. You can all be proud! Thanks to each and every one of you for participating, sharing ideas and for your true willingness to search out the truth and live in an Eco-friendly way. I'll be back towards the end of January with more challenges and, perhaps, a few surprises. Until then ... enjoy the holidays!
And remember ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!