Our Use It Up Month Didn’t End

Last month I blogged about starting our Use It Up month. Today is Day 2 of Zero Waste Week and the focus is food waste and its effect on climate change, so it seemed like a good time to give you all an update on our Use It Up month.

It may surprise you to know that UK households waste 7.1 million tonnes of food annually. Globally we waste a third of the food that we produce. A third! To me that’s absolutely obscene for a few reasons:

  • There are people starving in the world.
  • Wasted food also means that the resources used to produce that food are wasted too, whether that is an animal’s life, animal produce, water, human effort, energy or materials.
  • Rotting food releases methane into the atmosphere, which contributes to already escalating greenhouse gas emissions from fuel and industry.

When one of the three biggest contributors to landfill is food and one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions is landfill, it’s easy to see that tackling food waste is a really good place to start in the fight against climate change.

In the Spot of Earth household, our Use It Up month went so well that we’re going to keep going. We’ve spent a month raiding the cupboards and the freezer before we resorted to the supermarket and we’re still not through all the store cupboard supplies! We’ve stuck to our plan to only top up from the shops when absolutely necessary and only with the basics. This has forced us to be stricter about our shopping habits, which can only be a good thing for our bank balance. We’ve made sure that when we only needed milk, for example, we just went to the local shop. If we’d called in at the supermarket for milk, you can guarantee we’d have come out with a lot more than just milk! A bargain isn’t really a bargain if you didn’t need it in the first place.

We’ve had some interesting ‘allsorts’ teas (as we call them), where we’ve used up whatever was on its last legs in the fridge. One tea we had a version of tabbouleh made with bulgar wheat, a couple of tomatoes, a random shallot and a past-its-best fennel. This was served up with a few fish fingers and a veggie burger that were languishing in the freezer, a bit of leftover rice and some salad.

We’ve used up some jars of pasta sauce that were at the back of the cupboard when we needed a quick tea (not as nice as home made though) and I used up the last of some mango chutney in a curry sauce. We’ve resolved not to buy any more jam until every last jar is used up. We have an astonishing twelve jars of jam in our cupboard, half of which are home made, so I have no idea why we’ve continued to buy it from the supermarket!

Although we were already quite careful to avoid food waste, our Use It Up month has given us a different mindset that we will carry forward to help us reduce our food waste further.

Have you had a Use It Up month? How did you find it? Did you see a reduction in the food waste going in your kitchen bin? Please share your own experiences in the comments below.

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