How to Not Waste Stuff


Some days I am quite literally amazed that I feed myself. And I feed myself fairly healthy food in fairly reasonable amounts. I remember eating a lot of microwaved food growing up, and some days it just strikes me: I am now a grown up. I also tend not to waste food.

I believe this skill comes partly from living abroad, but mainly from living on a budget. I just can’t stand spending money on something I won’t use. I’d like to believe there’s a small dose of environmentalism in there, too.

Sarah Wilson’s post i love food, hate waste made me think more about how to not waste stuff. Or how I avoid wasting food, anyway.

I freeze a lot of stuff. Sliced bread can go into the freezer and directly into the toaster to make toast (or the frying pan, if you are like me and don’t have a toaster). A lot of meals and ingredients can be frozen – I make a whole rice and bean casserole and divide it into tupperwares; I divide ingredients like tomato sauce and pumpkin puree into quantities I’ll defrost them in (1 cup each) and freeze so I don’t need to eat pasta 10 days in a row.

I get to know a good handful of recipes/dishes that have some overlapping ingredients, and I sometimes pick the next one to make based on what I have extra of in the fridge.

I’ve just learned to tolerate eating the same thing a few days in a row. I’ve also become somewhat healthier as I’ve grown up, and I know that what I prepare is usually much better me and not to mention much cheaper than what I’ll buy at a restaurant. I bring my lunch and sometimes my dinner too.

I daydream about composting. I don’t really do it now. This doesn’t really reduce waste, but it makes waste less offensive to the environment. I used to have a 45-minute walking commute to a boss’ work space, and I’d bring my compost there. Sadly, since I left that job, I have not found another composting opportunity. It’s a big investment to get started on your own. I like to believe that the spirit of composting makes me waste less in some mysterious way…

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