Zero Waste Week starts on Monday 6th September!

It’s Zero Waste Week and although in my case that clashes a bit with “Back To School” week, I’m going to be making an effort to cut down on family food wasting this week. Firstly, I’m going to use my Google Calendar meal planning system to keep a beady eye on the family food shop. This is a great tip I got from Simple Mom. I don’t want to restate everything on the Simple Mom website, but essentially you set up a separate Google Calendar from your usual one and set each meal as an “Event” to recur every 2 weeks. I put the URL for the recipe (if I’m using one, there are a few dishes I could probably cook blind fold by now) in the Where/Location field and the text of the recipe in the Notes section. You can then email yourself reminders of what you’re cooking each day.

Why do this? The basic reason is that having a menu plan eliminates waste. If you know what you are going to cook for the week, it is a huge help when doing your weekly shop, stops you ordering too much food (and having to put it in the bin or panic eat it before it hits the use-by date) and helps you keep an eye on whether you are cooking nutritious food for your kids. You can plan things sensibly, for example if you are cooking chicken every second Sunday, you know you will have chicken stock and so make sure you have the ingredients for risotto, soup or whatever you usually make with it. I have now saved my shopping list for each scheduled week in my Ocado account, so all I have to do is bring up “Week 1 Shopping List” in my account and add all the items straight away when doing my shopping online. If you use Epicurious and some other recipe websites, you can also email yourself a shopping list.

Secondly, I’m going to try and use up everything in my store cupboards for non-planned lunches etc. I don’t menu plan for lunches so I am often tempted to go out to a cafe (very easy if you work from home and get fed up of the same walls) but this week I am going to concentrate on using up old ingredients and taking out packed lunches if I go out using leftovers.

Thirdly, I’m going to either see if I can persuade the council to pick up my food waste recycling (they used to at my old address) or get a bokashi bin or wormery that will fit into our small back garden.

I’ll let you know how I get on!

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