Love Food, Hate Waste

The challenge begins, how can we use our holiday left-over food?  My full refrigerator is daunting, and I am determined not to waste any of it. The freezer is one of our best tools to save food, but also using left overs in a new creative way: wraps, rice bowls, tacos or enchiladas, soups and stir fry. Save The Food has ideas to reduce food waste: https://www.savethefood.com/

Tonight I am serving. “Make your own rice bowl!”  choosing heated leftovers to put on a hot bowl of brown rice in the fashion of a salad bar.

Not only does wasting food, waste valuable resources and lots of water, but also food in our landfills decomposes creating and giving off methane gas which is a harmful air pollutant contributing to global warming.
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (Source: EPA)

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What Do We Want?

I want a world that treats all people with respect and kindness.

Be Kind

Make improvements, not excuses. Seek respect, not attention.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart    

Eight more ways you can spread kindness. These are my ideas for a kinder week for us all:
Friday, December 8, Celebrate Friday by smiling at people.
Saturday, December 9, Bring your reusable bags shopping, and be kind to the earth.
Sunday, December 10, Practice forgiveness.
Monday December 11, Start the week right and donate to a local food shelf. Second Harvest
Tuesday, December 12, Think of that person you have been meaning to call for a while, and dial them for a positive chat.
Wednesday, December 13, Be kind to the earth and donate to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Thursday, December 14, Make it a zero landfill waste day: Recycle, compost, and reuse.
Friday, December 15, Friday gratitude: Today think of the people you are thankful for in your life.

Other ideas for kindness: https://health4earth.com/2017/12/01/kindness-spread-it-now/

How can we be more sustainable?

wpid-wp-1417263708700.jpeg“Don’t buy me stuff that will wind up in a landfill. spend some time and make memories with me instead” Weatherman Paul Douglas

The shopping and entertaining season is upon us.  How can we be more sustainable in our purchases and lifestyle?

Our choices can help people Thrive!

A Startibune.com letter to editor today:

“The holidays can make us feel trapped by traditions that dictate what we buy, where we travel and who we see. For those looking for more freedom of choice this season, I recommend scrutinizing how you spend money and what cultures and policies those dollars ultimately support. Was this gift made in America? How does that store treat its workers? Is my credit card helping finance the Dakota Access pipeline? While such choices may appear innocuous, their aggregate impact can shutter businesses and victimize people both near and far. Or — if we think critically — our choices can help people thrive.

The election has passed, but we can vote with every dollar for the type of world we endorse and wish to promote.”  Robert Beets, Minneapolis

And ideas from Earth911 to make less trash http://earth911.com/living-well-being/zero-waste-how-to-make-less-trash/

https://www.givingtuesday.org/    13086949_1065267483539895_4417987934062182771_o

What can you do?

 
 

 

 

 

Reduce Consumption and Waste

13086949_1065267483539895_4417987934062182771_o

Earth Day Zero waste tips from http://earth911.com  Take a zero-waste pledge.

Challenge yourself to focus on the first of the 3 R’s and REDUCE your consumption
• To better visualize your efforts, use a glass jar or bowl to collect your waste for the day
• Use cloth produce bags for buying in bulk
• Visit a local farmer’s market for fresh produce, meats and cheeses.
• Bring lunch in a glass container or jar.
• Carry washable utensils and a cloth napkin in your lunch bag or purse.
• Take this day to de-junk your mailbox by removing yourself from mailing lists of unwanted promotions and catalogs. Earth 911

This is a good list, but to be really zero waste you need to compost food

Refilling a bottle of olive oil.
Refilling a bottle of olive oil.

scraps, and reuse and refill jars

Take a zero-waste pledge:

http://earth911.com/earth-day-pledge-2016/

The amazing Johnson family and zero waste: http://earth911.com/home-garden/7-steps-zero-waste-lifestyle/

Zero Waste, Is it Possible?

Bulk purchasing exactly the amount needed for zerowaste
Bulk purchasing exactly the amount needed for zero waste

I have just spent the morning in a seminar learning about the new organic compost program in Minneapolis. With an obsession for reducing trash I work on this daily, but just can’t see how to get to zero waste. We purchase in bulk using compostable paper bags, and refill every bottle with items that are available.
One woman, Bea Johnson, has been able to accomplish zero waste. What is the most amazing of all, she and her husband have two sons!

Here are Bea Johnson’s 10 easy steps to zero waste living:

Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions for bottle refills.
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions for bottle refills.

Refuse

  1. Fight junk mail. It’s not just a waste of resources, but also of time. Register to receive less at org,optoutprescreen.org and catalogchoice.org.
  2. Turn down freebies from conferences, fairs and parties. Every time you take one, you create a demand to make more. Do you really need another “free” pen?

Reduce

  1. Declutter your home, and donate to your local thrift shop. You’ll lighten your load and make precious resources available to those looking to buy secondhand.
  2. Reduce your shopping trips and keep a shopping list. The less you bring home, the less waste you’ll have to deal with.

Reuse

  1. Swap disposables for reusables (start using handkerchiefs, refillable bottles, shopping totes, cloth napkins, rags, etc.). You might find that you don’t miss your paper towels, but rather enjoy the savings
  2. Avoid grocery shopping waste: Bring reusable totes, cloth bags (for bulk aisles), and jars (for wet items like cheese and deli foods) to the store and farmers market.

Recycle

  1. Know your city’s recycling policies and locations—but think of recycling as a last resort. Have you refused, reduced or reused first? Question the need and life-cycle of your purchases. Shopping is voting.
  2. Buy primarily in bulk or secondhand, but if you must buy new, choose glass, metal or cardboard.Avoid plastic: Much of it gets shipped across the world for recycling and often ends up in the landfill (or worse yet, the ocean).

Rot

  1. Find a compost system that works for your home and get to know what it will digest (dryer lint, hair, and nails are all compostable).
  • Turn your home kitchen trash can into one large compost receptacle. The bigger the compost receptacle, the more likely you’ll be to use it freely.

http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/10/bea-johnsoon-zero-waste-guru/

What do you do to reduce your waste?

31 days of Reducing Trash and Waste

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (Source: EPA)

We can all do something about this tremendous influx of trash and I will be posting ideas for 31 days on how to reduce trash and waste:

Day 31, Set new goals to help the environment for the new year. Suggestions: Be more vigilant about recycling, start a compost bin, recycle all shampoo and cosmetic plastic, use less chemicals, and make a commitment to get outside and appreciate our beautiful earth.recycle

Day 30, Recycle, recycle, recycle Instead of throwing everything in the landfill trash recycle all plastic including plastic wrap and bags.  Many communities recycle wrapping paper without glitter.  Compost your food waste, and re-gift(give to someone who would enjoy) any gift you will not use. Take your electronics to Best Buy for recycling.

Day 29, Never purchase or use Styrofoam.  Styrofoam breaks down in tiny pieces and much of it ends up in our waterways lasting for hundreds of years.  Complain to businesses that still use Styrofoam food take-out container or cups, and bring your own container.

Never use Styrofoam
Never use Styrofoam

Day 28, More on reusable wrappings.  This is a great list from earth911.com  http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/reusable-gift-wrap-ideas/?mc_cid=41d9271137&mc_eid=9f2a2b2b71

Gifts in reusable shopping bags
Gifts in reusable shopping bags

Day 27, Use gift wrapping that can be reused or recycled.

My husband's gift wrapping
My husband’s gift wrapping

Day 26, Reduce the amount of paper towels you use.  Use real towels and always

Made from recycled materials
Made from recycled materials

purchase paper towels from recycled materials.

Day 25, last minute, easy gift ideas from the Minnesota Pollution Control:

Lessons. A lot of people would like to try new things, but won’t spend the money on themselves. A gift certificate might be just the item for someone who would like to begin a new hobby or polish the skills they have already learned. Perhaps you have can even teach them one of your special talents, like how to cook a family recipe.

Time and energy.  Friends or relatives may value help with snow shoveling, vacuuming, or organizing as a gift. Try our downloadable gift certificates as a way to present your gift.

Reused items. Many gifts can be purchased second-hand. Look at Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse directory and ReUse Minnesota for a list of shops. To help you find the perfect present,  choose a shop that specializes in one type of reuse, like kids stuff or sports gear.

Hand made or up-cycled items. This is a spin on the reused idea, but includes artsy, unique and personal touches. You can tackle your own projects or look to local shops.

  • Find shops that sell collectibles, vintage wear, or antiques
  • Gift hand-knit or home-sewn items
  • Create a book of family recipes

Day 24, More on bulk shopping and no plastic bags.  Purchasing exactly the

Bulk purchasing exactly the amount needed for zerowaste
Bulk purchasing exactly the amount needed for zerowaste

amount of the ingredients for a holiday dish.  These paper sacks can be recycled or composted! #zerowaste shopping

Day 23, Creative and clever ways to wrap your gifts: http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/green-home/10-stylish-sustainable-ways-wrap-gifts/#slide-top

Day 22, How can you reduce plastic produce bags? Plastic produce bags are just as polluting as plastic shopping bags.  To keep your produce fresh store it in a crisper in your refrigerator.

Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags
Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags

Day 21, More on plastic bags:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrEXjQAobz0&feature=youtu.be&a  Ban the bag

Day 20, How can you reduce the amount of plastic bags you use? Instead of using baggies, why don’t you try to use waxed paper bags? These can be composted.wpid-wp-1418614582040.jpeg

Day 19, great ideas from http://www.earth911.com  on reducing waste for the holidays:

http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/how-to-reduce-waste-during-the-holidays-7-tips/

Day 18, Reduce stress by not using your car one or more days this week.  Choose to walk, car pool or use public transport to get to work, school or meetings.

Day 17, Strive for quality. Purchase items you know will last and you will reuse, reuse and reuse.  Don’t purchase cheap items that will soon end up in the landfill.  Sorry, NO to #uglysweaters

Day 16, Get in the habit of using reusable table napkins. Make your own from remnant pieces if cloth,  or purchase some from reuse stores. Use your imagination, wash cloths or bandanas also make good napkins. They don’t need to match.wpid-wp-1418350361805.jpeg

Day 15, Commit to a no waste holiday season. Join one million women

http://www.1millionwomen.com.au/2014/11/04/no-waste-festive-season/

Join the No Waste Holiday Season
Join the No Waste Holiday Season
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions for bottle refills.
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions for bottle refills.

Day 14, Refill your glass bottles.  My local grocery store has an option to refill bottles

Refilling a bottle of olive oil.
Refilling a bottle of olive oil.

Day 13, Precycle, precycle precycle. Many of my ideas to reduce waste are about precycling. Today’s “less waste” idea is to avoid packaged items that will generate lots of landfill waste. Before you purchase items become aware of the amount of waste it will generate. Purchase items that have the smallest amount of packaging, and packaging that can be recycled. 

Day 12, Give your things new life. Donate clothing, coats or housewares you haven’t used in the last few years to a local non-profit that is capable of getting it to people in need such as a local crisis center, to Goodwill or another reuse store. http://www.volunteerguide.org/minutes/service-projects/clothesshoes

Day 11, Say “NO” to straws. Billions of plastic straws are in landfills and will never decompose.

How can we stop getting straws? Simply inform your waiter or waitress that you don’t need one, and make sure to specify this when ordering at a drive-thru. Can’t fathom giving up the convenience of straws? Purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass drinking straw. Restaurants are less likely to bring you a plastic one if they see that you’ve brought your own straw.  From:  http://www.mnn.com

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with liquid
Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with liquid

Day 10, Bring a reusable water bottle to work, school, and for all your adventures.

Day 9, Always bring your reusable shopping bags, and avoid plastic bags. Choose

Shop with your reusab;e bags
Shop with your reusable bags

paper if you forget your own bags.

Day 8, Cyber Monday.  Purchase green products and items made in the U.S.A. Also, support businesses that provide healthy working conditions and pay a living-wage.

Shop local, shop green
Shop local, shop green

http://www.doitgreen.org/directory

http://www.earth911.com/earth911tv/2014-eco-holiday-gift-guide/

http://www.madeinusaforever.com

Day 7, Use your leftovers.  Make your turkey leftovers into wraps enchiladas or make turkey soup: Brown an onion, add chopped carrots, celery or whatever vegetables you have fresh, frozen or canned. Add salt and lots of chopped turkey.  Cook in vegetable broth, season with rosemary, add some rice or noodles and enjoy… Better than a Thanksgiving dinner!  Freeze any remaining left overs to pull out on a busy night you need a quick dinner!

Day 6, Keep your community vibrant and walkable.  Support your local businesses and walk to them. #smallbusinesssaturday wpid-wp-1417263708700.jpeg

Day 5, Count your blessings, and avoid retailers.

If you’re looking to avoid impulse buying this year, take time not only to celebrate with your friends and family, but also to count your blessings. You may find that the easiest way to thwart retailers’ enticements as you peruse the shopping aisle isn’t to try to resist what you want; it’s to be thankful for what you have.

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20141125-david-desteno-heres-how-to-defeat-the-impulse-buy.ece

Day 4, Be thankful, freeze leftovers and disperse food to your guests.

“The amount of turkey wasted over Thanksgiving—about 204 million pounds—is enough to provide 46 four-ounce servings of turkey for every American household that is food insecure. Forty-six per household! Instead, it lands in our garbage can, as do all the resources it took to grow and nurture those birds: enough water to supply New York City for 100 days and the greenhouse gas equivalent to 800,000 car trips from San Francisco to New York.

This Thanksgiving, I invite you to truly be thankful for the feast before you and to take control of your plate and portions. Stop for a moment and reflect on everything it takes to bring that brilliant feast to your table—the grains that were grown to feed your turkey, the bog that nurtured your cranberries, the land that allowed your pumpkin to spread its big leaves all over, and the hands that worked tirelessly to grow our food. Then fill your plate with just what you can actually eat, and dig in!  Dana Gunder, Natural Resources Defense Council 

Pecan loaf, vegetarian alternative to turkey. #noGMOs, #glutenfree
Pecan loaf, vegetarian alternative to turkey. #noGMOs, #glutenfree

Day 3, Purchase food items in the bulk aisle. Buying bulk can save on packaging, and eliminates food waste because you can get only the amount you need. Co-ops will let you wpid-wp-1416973820585.jpegbring your own containers to refill, and bulk buying saves you money. Purchasing bulk items is my favorite way to shop!

Day 2, Serve municipal water in real glasses.  A new wasteful trend has developed. wpid-wp-1416886418719.jpegOften the only water served at parties is water in small plastic bottles.  A great way to cut waste and save money is to drink water from public water systems.  Run it through a Brita or other water filter and you have water as good or better than bottled water.  Water filters can be recycled at Terracycle.com

Day 1, Always use real plates, cups, glasses and silverware.  If you lack enough

Use real dishes
Use real dishes

for your party or dinner, borrow from a friend or relative.  The quality of your party improves 100% even if everything doesn’t match. It will still make your event special.