Food Waste & Silicone Food Containers
May 3
You're probably familiar with this procrastination technique: reading everything you can find on the internet about some random topic. The topic is not important! The history of galoshes? Crucial information, particularly if it keeps you from cleaning the bathroom.

I'm susceptible to posts about the environment, salvage, trash, and design. If I start following those subjects, I'm down the rabbit hole, gone for hours. And recently, the rabbit hole of the moment was "Food Waste". Did you know how big of a problem this is? The U.S. is particularly wasteful, even while people are going hungry. Don't believe me? Check out a few of these stats:

In 2010, America wasted 33.79 million tons of food, 16 percent more than the amount wasted in 2000 — and it’s only gone up since then. At the same time, nearly 18 million households in the United States alone are “food insecure,” meaning that it’s difficult for them to provide enough food for everyone in their family.

The most basic tenet of food waste is this: buy only what you need and eat it all. Sound easy? Right. Have you done any of the following:

- Succumbed to impulse buys at the grocery store, creating a surplus of veggies you don't know how to use?
- Lost food or leftovers at the back of the fridge and discovered them only at the penicillin stage?
- Thrown out a half a box of stale crackers or chips?

Well, folks, you're wasting food. And that doesn't even consider whether or not your could be using your Parmesan rinds or beet greens to be making delicious meals. To that end, my friend Carol recently gave me a book about how to eliminate / ease food waste, The Waste Free Kitchen Handbook by Dana Gunders. It's an easy and quick read, has portion size guidelines for shopping (including for parties!), storage tricks, and information about what food goes bad and when. Plus there are recipes to help with cleaning the pantry and using up produce on its way out, such as sautéed lettuce. Who knew?

Given that I'm already a nut about reducing waste, I was pretty psyched that my 'waste audit', as recommended by the book, showed I'm on the right track. But there's always room for improvement. And one thing I can always use help with is food storage, particularly since I don't like plastic or disposables. This large container allows me to keep fresh bread good for weeks, so I never waste it, and Abeego food wraps make plastic wrap moot. When a new product crosses my path, like these Stasher storage bags made from silicone, I like to check 'em out. In this case I'm curious about the silicone. Is it good for us? I found this article and this one, both discussing the safety issue, but neither give a definitive answer.

Can you recycle silicone? No, it's not biodegradable in our lifetime. So, it's probably best to avoid it from an environmental standpoint, except in those instances when it's beneficial to your health (first aid supplies, for example), or when it keeps you from using volumes of other plastics. (Try reading here and here.) I ordered two of the Stasher bags, which I'm hoping to use endlessly, particularly for travel (a damp cloth in one for cleanup and snacks in the other). I'll let you know.

Do you know your biggest food waste problem? Rotting produce? Moldy bread? Beyond prime leftovers? Why not monitor all the food you throw out for a month to figure out if your problem is the grocery store, the produce drawer in the fridge, or leftovers going uneaten. Make some changes as needed: save the food, save some money, save the planet. Bottom line: wasting food is not cool.
(2) Comments   | Tags: re: Ducere: Plasticre: Shopping


Do you compost?

By Joanna on 03/05/2016

Joanna -
Portland has curbside composting for ALL food (including meat and dairy), plus I have a garden composter. So I have zero food waste in the trash, but I was looking at food that I might have let go bad. My waste was an apple that rotted, eggshells and carrot tops. All were composted.

By Nancy Ranchel on 03/05/2016

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