The other day a co-worker asked me if I had heard the NPR story about food waste. I had seen the story, and his reminder prompted me to hop over and take a listen. The story was an interview with a couple who are the subjects of a new documentary about food waste. I was already following the page for the movie on Facebook, but listening to the interview really made me think about my own food waste.
I’m sure there’s some deep seated reason why I always have to have a full pantry and refrigerator, but I know I spend too much money on food, and that a lot of it gets thrown away. I didn’t really pay attention to how much until I listened to this story. I knew I had to clean out the fridge in preparation for Thanksgiving and because I had to go to the store. It was really sad and enlightening to see how much food went in the trash. I realized how much money that was wasted, and how many people could survive just on what I threw away.
I don’t set out to be wasteful. Sometimes I buy produce and it just doesn’t get eaten fast enough. Or I’ll have leftovers that I intend to take to work for lunch, but pick something up instead. Or I’ll fix something that none of us like enough to finish. But it’s a problem, and it’s not something I’m OK with.
So I was much more mindful about what I purchased in my most recent trip to the store. I know that I need to eat what is already in the house, and get rid of the need to always have a lot of food in the house. Even in the worst weather conditions, I’ve never been stuck in my house for more than one day, so I don’t need hoards of food. I also need to get over the dates on food. So much food is just fine past the date on the packages, but we toss it out thinking that it is bad.
I’ve made a commitment to myself that unless something really has spoiled, it is going to be eaten. I’m also going to use up everything we have here, even if it means some really weird meals. Not long after my promise to myself, I saw this story from Frugalwoods. They much more eloquently put the issue of food waste into perspective than I ever could, so please give it a read.
So are you a food water, or do you eat everything you buy?