Waste Not: Join Me in the 2009 Food Waste Reduction Challenge

Food Waste Reduction Challenge - February 2009

I’m embarrassed to admit it but I waste too much food. This public admission is my first concrete step toward my second New Year’s resolution: to slash the amount of food that I throw away (the first is here.)

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This is a hot topic right now, especially as people scrutinize their cash flows. There are, of course, also environmental reasons for wasting less food, which are explored on the blog, Wasted Food.

Also, it just seems downright wrong to discard food when families are going hungry and food bank shelves are spare.

According to a 1997 study, Americans waste one pound of food per person a day. The one pound figure takes into account consumers, food retailers and food businesses. That Department of Agriculture report is one of the most recent national studies on food waste, so it’s been a while since this topic was on the national research agenda.

Check out this staggering graphic from the New York Times. If I took account of how much food waste I threw out in a year, it would shamefully look much like the NYT picture.

So today, I resolve to join the Food Waste Reduction Challenge. I’ll be taking steps to reduce the amount of edible food products I throw away. I already know what some of my weak spots are:

I’m not a shotgun shopper; I always plan the week’s meals carefully. However, I tend to overestimate the amount of time I will be able to spend cooking. Since I love cooking, I sometimes get carried away with my weekly menus. According to Wasted Food’s Jonathan Bloom, this is a common problem. People buy much more than they are able to prepare and they end up throwing it away.


My fridge

So is the solution to buy less groceries more often? Gas is a consideration, and with my busy schedule, multiple shopping trips are not ideal. I think I am just going to have to buy less groceries. I am going to have to wean myself further from recipes (a continuing education) and improvise with leftover ingredients before restocking. I also need to improve at considering what food I already have before I shop.


More salads = less waste

That goes hand in hand with me becoming more comfortable with a slightly emptier fridge. Friends have alternately marveled at or ribbed me about my restaurant-grade stockpile. What can I say? I like having special ingredient on hand when I need it. I’ve never been comfortable with “bachelor fridge” but things don’t really need to go that extreme. In my desire for abundance, it’s doubtless that something gets pushed to the back of the fridge and ignored.

So readers, I will share with you my progress, pitfalls, and pictures. I invite you to join me in signing up for the Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Also, please let Miami Dish readers know how you are doing or what you already do to reduce your food waste!

Any questions about food waste? Leave those too!

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