Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Zero Waste Week

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:

How did you do with last week's food waste audit? I, like a lot of people, would have said that we don't waste food. But the audit opened my eyes and I learned that it's the little things that offer us an opportunity to do better. For example, when I'm in a hurry preparing a meal, I don't pay attention to the amount of "trim" that I'm taking off veggies. Last week I noticed that perfectly edible pieces were being cut off and sent to the compost. Yes, compost is certainly better than the landfill but still, wouldn't it be even better if those pieces were on our plate rather than in the compost bin? I think so! Bread is also a challenge, especially those end pieces. We reduce waste by making our own loaves and only making enough for a day or two. Those ends are run through the food processor, dried, toasted and frozen for use later as tasty crumbs. The real challenge with bread is "just doing it" ... it's very easy to put things off. Procrastination, however, is rewarded with blue mold. As with most of our challenges, the key is in planning, thinking and acting.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

We have a brand new Honor Society member! WhooHoo and Welcome to Amber. Amber wanted to do more than just accept the challenge ... she wanted to share it, along with her tips & ideas, with her readers. She wrote Food Waste Challenge with #CTWW. One of her ideas concerns the amount of food children eat and how to ensure that there's no waste at the end of a meal. Great to have you with us, Amber ... I'm looking forward to your future CTWW posts!

Betty Taylor stopped by and says, " This is a great cause! We really need to take care of our environment. We recycle, but I'm sure we could do better."

Ann shares a unique use for Orange Peels in Letter O for orange peel. If you're a gardener, you'll find it very interesting!

Zoe has been an active participant in Zero Waste Week ... she's done a daily audit and not only shares her "trash" but offers ideas for reducing waste. She's continued on this week with great articles like What does it really mean to waste food? where she suggests that it is much more than just using food by it's expiration date. Check out all of her Zero Waste posts HERE (really great stuff).

CelloMom offers us a unique way to meet this challenge: " Since we've just returned from our summer holidays, there's no fresh food in the house. I do need to go grocery shopping, but will do so sparingly. What I've learned from the summer, when I did the groceries on bike and there's only so much I can carry: if you don't have too much food in the house, your food waste goes down. Simply because you look around and eat what there is. If the choice is between leftovers, running to the store, or going hungry, you eat the leftovers. And we had a few rather creative meals, of what there is in the house. We had very little waste." Love that, CM!

Argentum Vulgaris accepted the challenge and will give us an update on his efforts in a future post. In the meantime, he has great news about recycling in Brazil. Read Change the World Wednesday – 28th Aug to find out what's going on over there ... and meet his newest family member!

The Flora Foster Daily gave CTWW a headline spot. Whoot! There are a ton of other fun and interesting stories including this one: An Ode To The Funniest Signs We've Seen At Airports.

Lois accepted the challenge and, in Food Waste and Exhaustion, talks about how she manages to toss out very little food (her method might surprise you). For the small amounts not eaten, she avoids the trash bin in other ways. How? Here's a hint ... she put an item in this spot one evening and by morning it was claimed.

Mrs. Green wrote How to do a food waste audit #ctww where she offers three methods to accommodate any time constraints. She also suggests how we might use the audit once it's complete.

Do you consider composted food a waste? Here's what EcoGrrl says on the subject: "Interesting, as I don't consider any of the food that goes in my compost to be waste, because it will be nurturing the soil in the garden and therefore is useful. I don't throw food in the trash. Looking at what's in my compost bowl in the kitchen now (I don't have a cute little bin, just a stainless bowl that gets dumped in the compost bin when it's full) and it's got eggshells, cut-outs from the tomatoes I canned, stems, and a can of pears that went oddly funky and fizzy after canning last week that I don't trust to eat. All stuff that my compost pile will love!"

Welcome to Westywrites, another new CTWW Honoree! She thought that she and her family were waste-free. But then, she did an audit: Zero Waste Week: Revved up & raring to go!. From there she took action ... read about her plans in Zero Waste Week: Day 1 – what a lot of food!

Lisa decided that she needs a compost bin to rescue any food waste from her home. But as she read information about starting one, the many options seemed to make the process difficult. In Making A Compost Bin she came up with a brilliant, inexpensive plan. Nicely done, Lisa ... I hope you'll update us on your composting adventures!

Alicia offers us a great strategy for eliminating waste. She says, "For the past several years this has been a top priority for me. I try to make sure that the older produce is moved to the front of the fridge so I will use it next. Any leftovers that I see we are not going to use in the next few days gets put in the freezer to be used in soups and stews. We like EcoGrrl never throw food in the garbage, it is composted. We waste very little if any food but it took us a while to get to this point. I make a weeks worth of menus each week and then make my grocery list according to the items I need for the menus. This really helps to not have a lot of waste. Surveying your fridge every few days helps a lot also. Sometimes food gets pushed to the back and then it is discovered after it has gone bad. If you make a habit of checking every few days this pretty much eliminates this from happening. Great challenge!" I love your organization, Alicia!!

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @givetreegifts
- Things like kiwi skins would normally go in our compost but I bought a Nutribullet & can now drink things that are unpalatable alone
- Not that composting is a waste; but if we can take advantage of those nutrients... Leaves, trimmings, etc are still composted
- Used to put egg shells in compost as well but I learned that when pulverized finely they're a valuable supplement for our dog

From @jnaquins
- Absolutely!! I just made the best hash browns with left over tater tots from last night!!

From @counselorholley
- I agree with you- it's always good to be conscious of our purchases & then our waste!

From @nebulousmooch
- Food waste tip: When cutting up veggies for a meal freeze the scraps to use later for making stock.
- Make a weekly meal plan and grocery list before heading out to the shops.

From @officialcwerner
- My #CTWW for today...Maple Walnut Bread Pudding, made with the French Bread I had oven now :-)

From @soulfullab (when asked for tips to reduce food waste)
- Adding juicer pulp to sauces.
- Meal planning!

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@89linz @_lyal_ @a_kiasi
@aleamilham @allnaturalkatie @anitaadamsnc
@beatepdx @beckymcneer @bestrawesome
@biculturalmama @biggreenpen @bobbiskozyktchn
@bstoneblog @cdnmomscook @chinahutch82718
@cleansediva @clothaddicts @conservationm
@counselorholley @craftgal @defendressofsan
@diethood @dusdifissette @eco_novice
@ecoexpert1 @ecoharmony @ecothrifty
@ecowarriorme @energysherlock @evelynmccpeters
@familyfocusblog @fey1isleofskye @foodiearmywife
@foodiestuntman @geec0 @ginavalley
@givetreegifts @gottagetbaked @gr8fulgirl11
@greenforu @groovygreenlivi @guayaba
@happywholeness @herbgir1972 @hismerecry
@inthekitchenkp @jaemacjustsayin @jenosaurus
@jnaquins @jnjgogreen @juanitascocina
@julialittlebit @katemanchester @kayelleallen
@laalicia @lady_bren @ladyjcmuses
@ladyladuke @leighanneramsey @leslie_limon
@lifelovemusic1 @lorcadamon @mamapoolecooks
@manusmenucom @marjoriemcatee @martindredmond
@messybakerblog @momaical @momgamerwriter
@mommasmeals @mrtweetecho @mygreenboston
@myzerowaste @neat_os @nebulousmooch
@nicolehcook @officialcwerner @rckweddings
@realityarts @redkathy @reneedobbs
@rulesofgreen @ruralmoms @sammyobeid
@seetfei @shannongrissom @sonisfood
@soulfullab @soundless2 @sowhatirun
@spafloating @srushton1 @ssunithi
@supperforasteal @taranoland @treesgroup
@useventphotos @villagegirlblog @wallet_appetite
@webicurean @wencdj @writelane
@yfnjman @zenfarmz

My Final Thoughts:

The beauty of doing a food waste audit is that it replaces our perceptions with truth. It allows us to become informed and that information helps us make better choices. I recently read an interesting article on the Food Waste/Obesity connection. Obesity? Yes! Many people want to eat healthy so use their grocery budget to buy fruits, veggies and whole foods. They stalk their shelves with good intentions. But then, life gets busy and time is short ... and all those healthy foods simply sit because there isn't "enough" time (or inclination) to fix a good meal. Processed "fast" foods become the "norm" and those healthy foods go to waste. At this point, the thought of shopping again seems expensive, especially when one can pick up a quick, inexpensive meal from the local fast-food joint ... which opens the doors to obesity. Part of doing an audit is the honest appraisal of our eating habits and using that information to spend our food dollar wisely and eat what we buy. Planning, thinking and acting make eliminating food waste possible. It just might improve our health, as well!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Zero Waste Week has begun. If you haven't signed up, there's still time and I encourage you to do so. It is simply a way to declare your commitment to eliminate food waste. It also shows the world that there are a whole bunch of us, worldwide, who are interested in protecting the planet.

Ready to get busy? Here you go ...

Our challenge is twofold:
  1. Check out the fruit bowl and come up with an idea for using bananas (which is the 3rd most wasted food according to Mrs. Green's "Zero Heroes"). 
  2. Clean out your fridge and check the temperature (to ensure proper food storage). When cleaning the refrigerator, move items around so that the oldest (and still usable) foods are front and center ... and make plans to use those things up this week.
Are you up for this challenge? I know that you are!

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Until next time ...