View Full Version : Challenge - Food Waste Fridays

02-24-2011, 11:44:17 AM
I was very inspired by TheFrugalGirls blog on food waste called Food Waste Friday (sorry I don't know how to link and don't know if it's allowed). She was tired of wasting food so to hold herself accountable she posts every Friday on the food she threw out that week. While I don't have the inclination or the skills to keep a blog with pictures, I would like to commit to reducing food waste this year. Americans throw away more than 40% of the food we produce for consumption. This is just bad stewardship of our resources and with rising food prices, it doesn't make good economic sense. I thought I would start a thread where we could confess our food waste (in hopes of being more aware) and share ideas for using leftover food and other ways of reducing food waste. I made a clean sweep of the refrigerator this morning so I could make a fresh start. Here is what I throw out (but I'm not counting this since I don't officially start until Friday:whistle67:). Two partial packages and one full unopened package of shredded cheese and one unopened block of cheddar cheese (I hate throwing away cheese:sad3:), half a baked sweet potato left over from a restaurant visit, a cup cooked spaghetti with no sauce, 2 slices cranberry sauce, 3 slices of bologna and a package of deli ham that was past date. Here are the things that need to be used this week or will need to be tossed - green onions, half a bag of kale, half a bag of baby carrots, 1 pear, 1 1/2 c. pumpkin puree, 1 cup of cooked egg noodles, and some leftover Mexican food from a restaurant visit. I'm looking for ideas for using my produce and leftovers.:wavehi:

02-24-2011, 03:41:16 PM
There is probably a lot less waste with those on this site than many others but it's true; the amount of food we waste is a crime.

I'm not sure many are going to want to confess though. I almost didn't.

In January I had to toss a $10 pack of steaks because I let them go bad and I'm still not over the guilt I feel over that - especially since we don't buy steak that often!! It wasn't intentional - things just kept happening where I didn't get a chance to cook them and then I finally had time and I opened the package with dread, knowing what I would find, and yep, they were bad.

02-25-2011, 08:30:59 AM
OP, this is a great topic! Unfortunately, I am terribly guilty of making food, putting leftovers in the refrigerator, and then forgetting they are there until I clean out the fridge a month later and throw out a bunch of stuff that's growing a bunch of stuff. :sick77:

03-07-2011, 10:25:00 PM
So nobody else wants to 'fess up?:giggle2: I had a bad food waste week because I had lots of company and they left a bunch of food here. Here is what I threw out this week - leftover cooked egg noodles (just no room in the fridge anymore for them), one serving of vegetable soup that got left out after eating:rolleyes24:, an entire frozen pizza that nobody wanted after I cooked it, six herb biscuits, four huge breakfast pastries and 3 slices of German chocolate cake. I figured those last two things were better in the trash than on my hips. I still have tons of food in my fridge that needs to be eaten this week - leftover pulled pork, homemade tamales, leftover spaghetti, and an entire smoked chicken. I probably won't even need to cook this week.:BigHand: I am proud of myself that I stuck a bag of bagels and a loaf of bread in the freezer before they got bad. I have a relative that works at a bakery who brought me the pastries, bagels and bread.

03-08-2011, 09:42:57 AM
Oh I am so terrible about this. For some reason, DH and I always make more than all of us (DH, DD and I) can eat during one meal. I always say I am going to put those left overs up and eat them for lunch tomorrow. At least 80% of the time I forget to do that or think DH is (which results the same as forgetting) and the food stays out over night. It is either not fit to eat at that point, we don't want it or our kitties have "scavanged".

Just the other day I threw out some left over fish. That was $3 in the garbage.:hectic: Complete waste on my part. As I type there are left over fries and 1 burger from Sunday that will end up in the garbage. Just sitting in the microwave, unwrapped, unloved.:sad3:

03-08-2011, 10:06:29 AM
This morning I tossed 1/2 a head of lettuce and a couple of days ago about 1 cup of orange juice because it had soured. A small piece of Parmesan cheese went recently too and if I remember correctly there is a piece of cornbread, part of a jar of pasta sauce and a small bowl of chili at the back of the fridge that need to be thrown out today. :sad3:

03-08-2011, 11:02:45 AM
Thanks to teenagers and a big dog I don't have a lot of food waste and I try to make sure that if I have leftovers that don't get eaten in a couple of days that they go in the freezer. This is sometimes a good thing to have my own "frozen dinners" ready to go as I can just grab them and microwave for lunch at work - saving me from eating out! I have a special freezer shelf that is reserved for individually portioned leftovers. I have found that the rubbermaid brand countainers hold up really well for this purpose. I have shallow square ones that hold 2.9 cups and 2 cup round ones with twist on lids.

The thing I do hate wasting the most is the meat! Before thanksgiving I had to through out a bunch of frozen turkey meat from 2 years ago that was not useable. I am learning that I should not get a big turkey no matter how cheap, because we never do eat all the leftovers. This year I got some turkey breast in gravy that was just about the right size for us to use up! Right now I have 1 hotdog and about a half a cup of chicken fajita that has to go in the trash because they aren't even suitable for the dog. The fruit, veggie, grain stuff can be composted and made into something useful - so not such a big deal to me to have to do that. Cheese almost never goes bad around here because we eat it on everything and use it a lot for main dishes - more likely than not I am needing more that what I have and running to the store for more.

03-13-2011, 06:15:57 PM
I religously read The Frugal Girl and also work very hard to eliminate my food waste - she has really opened my eyes to the fact that food being thrown away = money being thrown away.

I'll report in each Friday, the accountability is good for me :smile:

This week was a good week for us, food wise! I threw away two muffins that went bad before we could eat them and some cantaloupe and watermelon that went bad (only about one serving of each).

I had some carrots that needed used soon, so I cleaned them up and made baby food (their original purpose when they were purchased anyways :giggle2:) and I also thawed a loaf of english muffin bread from the freezer that would have started to get freezer burnt if it wasn't used soon.

Here's to another good week!

03-13-2011, 08:25:20 PM
I didn't have too bad of a week because I haven't cleaned my refrigerator out yet.:giggle2: The pumpkin puree finally got thrown out - didn't get anything made out of it. I did use up the rest of a loaf of bread that has been in my pantry for a while - made cinnamon toast. I have some leftover cooked broccoli and some cooked mixed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) that I was going to try an experiment with - make broccoli cheese soup and add the broccoli chunks and puree the rest of the veggies and add). I also have half a package of hot dogs and a pound of ground turkey that I was going to make into burgers and grill today (does ground turkey make good turkey burgers?). I ended up not cooking all weekend so none of my cooking ideas materialized. On Friday I came home and DH was frying fish (yum!). On Saturday we went to Red Lobster for a birthday and today we were invited to a friend's house for for dinner.

03-14-2011, 11:17:45 PM
I eliminated close to 100% of my food waste by meal planning and buying a juicer.

I meal plan each week first, then shop for fresh items that I need to complete the meals for the week.

When I have leftover fresh fruit and veggies, I juice them.

What I want to do better at is recycling all the paper and plastic many couponed items are wrapped in.

03-15-2011, 01:05:48 AM
Yesterday I threw out 1 pork chop - it was a week old, a little leftover Pedialyte hubs' doctor told him to drink when he was sick, a small bottle of Mt. Dew (also hubs') and part of a Naked Juice smoothie (Vegetarian girl's). Oops, also 3 more tomatoes - I refuse to refrigerate them and they shrivel before I can use them. Really shouldn't even buy them they taste so crummy. And 1 pepper met the same fate, shriveled before used, also Veg girl's.

In the next day or so I will probably have to toss some potatoes.

03-18-2011, 07:45:02 AM
My refrigerator has been pleasantly empty this week, but I've still managed some waste. I tossed two strawberries - one got moldy and the other was just a little too soft for me to be okay with eating. I also tossed 7 pumpkin muffins which were starting to sprout mold. I also tossed 1 portion of grapes which went slimy and a small bowl of green beans which I forgot about.

On a good note though, I saved a half bunch of grapes by putting them in the freezer for a smoothie and I also put my homemade tortillas in the freezer for a meal later next week.

04-10-2011, 08:45:23 AM
I am guilty of wasting food. My son is a bad eater and I usually end up throwing out half of what I serve him. Produce are the worst and baked goods too. So far that I can remember this year I have thrown out 3 oranges, some lettuce, 3 tomatoes, 1 bagel, 1/4 of a large loaf of bread, leftover ravioli and sausage, 4 slices of birthday cake, 2 boxes of cereal... I cant remember anything else but there was probably more leftovers... so sad I am ashamed...

04-10-2011, 09:35:11 AM
The only thing I threw away this week was one serving of chicken and rice and one serving of chicken enchiladas. I am proud that we ate every single bit of produce that was bought this week (lettuce, carrots, cabbage, strawberries and bananas) which is usually what I end up throwing away. I am trying to be especially vigilant on the produce. I rescued a glass of milk that my son left on the table after he left yesterday. It went back into the fridge and I poured it on his cereal this morning.:hysterical:

04-10-2011, 10:17:59 AM
I didn't see this thread until today. We're pretty good about using up most of the leftovers, by eating them for lunch during the week, but I know we toss out some stuff that we should be eating before it goes bad. I'm going to watch this week to see what we're tossing, post it on Friday, and hopefully learn from this.

BTW...I've rescued milk and used it on the same kid's cereal before too!

04-10-2011, 11:00:19 AM
Ugh I am so bad....3 pudding cups tossed, some block cheese that was partially green:sad3:, some cheese cubes that weren't looking so good and some biscuits we made but I forgot to seal up.

04-10-2011, 03:33:05 PM
Not much improvement here I'm sorry to say. Today I will toss leftover spaghetti, black-eyed peas and rice, about 1/3 of a pack of that #$%& expensive Black Forest deli ham from Sam's, and probably kiwis, small apples and mandarin oranges. We'd bought several of each of those fruits and middle daughter was supposed to take them with her when she returned to college a couple of weeks ago and she forgot them.

Earlier this week discarded a pack of English muffins, some celery, 4 large Granny Smith apples (well we fed them to one of the horses so at least something got to enjoy them), small bowl of lentils, 2 bowls of home-made salsa, a fresh pepper, half a bag of potatoes and 2 bananas. That's all I can think of. sigh . . . .

04-10-2011, 07:31:36 PM
I have accepted the fact that in order to be frugal, I would have to give up some freshness from freezing my food. Steak isn't bad at all from the freezer, and I never have to throw any away. I just pull it out a couple of days before planning to use it.

I guess I snack enough to catch the occasional product going out of date. I would have chopped up that block of cheese and put it on crackers with the deli ham.

snip...... and 2 bananas. . . . .

Any banana too old to eat is still a couple of days away from being perfect for banana bread. Rule of thumb is three bananas to each loaf. If you only have two, add a fresh one to add banana bits to the loaf. Very tasty.

ETA: Any food that is still good but you are not planning on using, you can cook and freeze also. Even potatoes can be diced and cooked and then go into the freezer waiting for the next stew.

04-10-2011, 09:04:14 PM
True on the bananas for banana bread - the trouble was no one had time to make any! I have frozen the bananas before with the intention of making bread later but I have just found they get forgotten and never used. When I was younger - in my 20's and 30's I was much more ambitious about that sort of thing but I am not nearly as energetic as I used to be!

We're just the opposite on freezing stuff. There are not many things that I will cook, freeze and serve later - meatloaf, beans, chili or spaghetti sauce - that's about it. My hubs' mom was a phenomenal cook and he would definitely be able to tell and would not enjoy it plus I was raised on dried out, hard bread with my sandwiches from the bread being frozen. I never freeze bread, rice, pasta or potatoes because I think they are inedible afterward.

04-18-2011, 06:48:37 AM
Had a pretty good week - only threw away 2 servings of salad and 4 pieces of fried fish. The salad got put in the vegetable drawer and forgot about:sad3: and DH left the fried fish out after dinner (I was playing games with company and didn't see it until hours after). DH will usually save leftover fried fish to eat cold the next day (I don't like it but he does). The neighbors cat enjoyed the fish.:hysterical: The only fresh produce I purchased so far this week has been 8 bananas and 4 mangoes so keeping an eye on those to make sure they get eaten.

04-25-2011, 06:39:55 PM
We've done really good this week on produce - no waste.:wavehi: I have been vigilant on keeping on top of the produce. I had a bowl of leftover cooked broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in cheese sauce in the fridge. I pureed it all and added it to my broccoli cheese soup today. Half a leftover onion and a slice of sandwich cheese that got left slightly open and a little dried on one end also went into the soup. It was delish!:smile: The only waste I had this week was 5 onion bagels. I bought them for company and they didn't eat them - I ate one before they started getting moldy two days ago.

04-26-2011, 03:08:43 AM
Let's see, it's been a bit of a blur recently.

One mango was tossed (Vegetarian girl swore she would eat them if I bought them!!), 1 head of lettuce - hubs took it out of fridge thinking it was "old" but it wasn't. I didn't discover this til the next day but it was too limp to use. One orange and 1 lemon but at least they went into disposal and made the kitchen smell good.

Oops, forgot - 2 large pieces of steak, not a rib-eye or T-bone, I can't remember what type. I made a new (VERY time consuming) recipe and nobody liked it.

A few pieces of bread and out of 4 pounds of strawberries, 5 or 6 individual berries were tossed because they were squishy.

04-26-2011, 03:38:24 AM
A few weeks ago, I said I'd post here...and then I forgot!

But I know what I've tossed this week...

1 sweet potato (I bought a bag of them, and found out when I got home that one of them was rotten)

1 piece of chicken (got lost in the back of the fridge)

We're really good about eating up leftovers, so we rarely have any waste. I've been really good about the produce lately, since I started back on Weight Watchers.

04-29-2011, 10:13:26 PM
I've done really well lately. The only thing I threw away was a VERY moldy end piece of french bread that I found in my pantry - no telling how old it was - I don't think I've purchased french bread in two months.:giggle2: We had 5 bananas left today that were past the point of anyone wanting to eat them (we really don't like them when they get any black spotting on them). I made a huge fruit salad for a cook-out tonight and used them all.:BigHand: I have one hot dog left from the cook-out - I need to make sure it doesn't get pushed to the back of the fridge.

04-29-2011, 10:34:11 PM
I usually don't have left overs for more than a day because the kids and I eat them the next day for lunch and freeze what's left. I am guilty for buying too much for meals for the week and not getting around to making it. I try to shop for what I know we will eat that week but would like to stockpile the things that can be stored and not go bad. I just need to find a place to put it.

04-29-2011, 10:53:22 PM
Not bad for me this week. A couple of the last pieces of sandwich bread were tossed yesterday, about a cup of milk today - it was spoiled - and a little jello 2 days ago. I think that's it.

04-30-2011, 12:54:47 PM
I didn't have a bad week, either. Like I've said before, we're really good about eating up leftovers. BUT...

I found a container with about a half of a can of evaporated milk in the back of the fridge. I usually use it for mashed potatoes, but I never need a whole can. I wasn't sure how long it had been in there, and I didn't want to chance it.

Then...today...I threw out a perfectly good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For some reason, it sounded good. And I knew I needed to eat something for lunch. (I plan to have a couple of glasses of wine tonight, and didn't want to skip lunch...and start drinking that wine on an empty stomach). For some reason, I didn't add up the Weight Watchers point until AFTER I made it. It was TEN POINTS!!! Yikes!!!! So, it went in the garbage disposal. I ate a bowl of soup and a salad instead.

05-14-2011, 06:00:03 PM
I wasted the PERFECTLY good deviled eggs that my gma sent home from easter dinner. I had so many left overs that they fell behind something and I found em other day. I was so upset cuz she makes the best!! UGH!
Leftover meatloaf : crumble up and use as meat in chili
Head lettuce: Put a paper towl in bottom of gallon ziploc bag place head in. I am down to the last of a head that I have had for about a month and it is still good. Use a decent quality papertowel.
Ham: I buy large bone in. First meal just ham and sides. Cut part of leftovers into slices other part chunks. 2nd meal Hot ham and cheese sandwiches and chips (make em just like grilled cheese) 3rd meal Ham and beans and cornbread. And I usually still have some slices for wraps to snack on; Use cold tortilla shell add some lettuce some small pieces of ham , shredded cheese and ranch dressing.Wrap it up like burrito. Yummy!

05-14-2011, 06:03:06 PM
I had a fridge problem last week and let's just say the amount of stuff wasted was bad. Too much to remember. :sad3: Shameful.

05-15-2011, 09:56:37 AM
Wasted this week
about 2 lbs strawberries - I bought 8 pounds and waited too long to wash and cut them for the freezer:sad3:
a baked sweet potato left over from a restaurant visit
a few pieces of bread each left from two loaves of bread - pretty smashed so no great loss
an entire package of hot dog buns - purchased 2 packages for a cookout for 7 people - only ate one package and didn't freeze the other :sad3:

not a very good week for me - will do better next week:wink7:

05-20-2011, 12:25:16 PM
tossed this week

one serving of cauliflower with cheese sauce - left it for DH to eat with chicken one night when I was gone - he only ate the chicken:hysterical:

several servings of fried fish - DH always makes the fish and he usually makes too much - he is the only one that will eat leftover fried fish and he took it two days for lunch and there is still leftover

So all of the food waste this week was DH's fault:giggle2::hysterical:

05-21-2011, 10:36:21 AM
i threw out a lot in the past week, having dd things just didn't get used up in time...

2 heads of lettuce
2 lbs of chicken
about 3 lbs of potatoes
1/4 lb of baby carrots

this doesnt count things ds didn't finish on his plate, and this isn't normal for us, just having a new baby kind of made fresh food preparing a bit difficult for a couple weeks...

05-21-2011, 03:58:39 PM
Let's see, a very small chunk of banana bread, about 1 cup of salad, a little bit of Noodles Parmesan and I think that's it. Big improvement!

05-21-2011, 04:14:26 PM
3 single serve bags of apple slices, shredded lettuce, part of a loaf of bread, part of a bag of tortillas, very small amount of pasta salad. Also an Ian's Kid's meal from the freezer that just didn't look right. The end of the box appeared to be wet. The coating was off of the nuggets and the cake had entirely slid out of the compartment. It may well have been really old. I can't remember the last time I bought those.

05-31-2011, 09:21:33 PM
I had to throw away 5 bananas that got left in my car.:rolleyes24: They weren't that overripe but had gotten smashed and were turning to liquid on one side. DH cooked some sausage links the other day that he said tasted funky (possibly freezer burnt?) so those got thrown out. We have tons of leftovers this week - it's gonna be difficult to get them all eaten before they go bad. Does anyone know if you can freeze baked beans?

06-01-2011, 03:01:28 AM
I just threw out a few individual hummus cups from Costco that expired on May 6. Daughter was taking them in her lunch for a while and apparently stopped. Also a ton of packs of baby carrots also from Costco. They went weird early on. Kind of dry and white looking. We were still eating them but they were less than thrilling. Then daughter got sick and wasn't eating her usual diet. So those didn't get eaten. Neither did the loaf of sourdough bread which I will throw out tomorrow. I had planned to make a sandwich for myself but at 9:00 that night we were still away from home. So I bought myself a yucky sandwich and a salad for my daughter. She liked the salad.

When my husband leaves, I suspect I will throw out more. I had an accident with the Danish today so what was left had to go in the trash. I accidentally set a shopping bag on them. It stuck to the label and when I tried to pull the empty bag up, they flew all over the floor. At least there weren't too many left. I also bought him some cookies and energy bars which he may or may not eat. I never know what he will eat. That's the problem. He also hasn't touched the eggs. At least those were free.

06-01-2011, 09:03:20 AM
So, I went thorugh the items in the door of the fridge this weekend. Based on some dates, I must have overlooked this for a while. I threw out

-Salad dressing
-buffalo sauce, exp. 2006 (this was my sister's)
-Lawry's marinade, exp 2003:whistle67:
-box of peroiges (covered in ice)

Oh and whoever noted about the lettuce, I had read that somewhere else too. So we keeps our leaves between damp (not wet) paper towels in a green bag. It seems to work well. Some of the lettuce we pulled from the garden the begining of May is still in great shape (DD ate two big pieces the other day).

08-04-2012, 02:03:33 PM
I'm trying to get back on the bandwagon with reducing food waste. I haven't been so good lately so here is my effort to shame myself into cutting back on food waste:( Yesterday I had to throw away an entire unopened package of fresh strawberries and 6 cans of biscuits. I also had to throw away a jar of spaghetti sauce earlier in the week because I dropped it and it broke. The biscuits were in my freezer and the freezer had some issues so the ends of the cans got very rusty so out they went. The strawberries were entirely my fault because I did not keep on top of things and they sat in the fridge too long (I hate so much throwing away produce).