Waste Wednesday update

Another week, another waste audit.  I have started weighing my trash (my last post was the first in what I hope will be a series).  I don’t weigh my organic waste, which I use a Bokashi bin for, nor do I weight everything I recycle.

First things first, I was just reading ‘Love Food Hate Waste‘ and was surprised that they say the packaging your single cucumber in, preserves it better.  Nonetheless, I know that Simply Being Mum and others have tried to avoid the wrapped cucumbers – seems pretty prevalent in the UK, but it’s not uncommon to find them in Australia.  All sorts of packaging is ‘good’ for the food.  And that we waste more food than we do packaging (‘we’ being the UK or England… but the point stands)

As I mentioned above, I won’t be weighing my ‘wet’ organic waste – it’s just a step more than I’m willing to get involved with! But it was ‘food for thought’ (oh, a dad joke, I’m sorry!)

So in this week’s total trash weighed in at 172g (last weigh in was 232g on 4 April).  I was away on the weekend for a wedding, so there’s been less cooking at home than usual.

Non plastics

  • Tissues – I might try soaking them in water, and burying them. Would be lovely to have my OWN garden to simplify this!
  • Matches – like skewers last week, what’s the eco way to trash these?
  • Food soiled paper – grease-proof paper and a cardboard crepe holder.  These might be able to be composted/buried at a stretch?
  • Ribbon off cuts – only the bits I cut to stop the ends from fraying.  I’m sure this organza ribbon is essentially a plastic, but who knows now days?
  • String – from a gift bag that was otherwise recyclable
  • Alfoil – this, I now believe, is able to be put in the recycling bin.  I usually use alfoil more than once before trashing, for a little extra eco credit


  • Plastic cup – a restorative juice from the green grocer – no apparent recycling symbols
  • Straw – from the juice above
  • Plastic bags from food – this week there was ones from almond meal & the spice sachets (snipping the tops off to make the resealable bit work).  Plastic bag and tray from savory biscuits
  • Cling wrap – from half a pumpkin – they didn’t have whole ones on display and as it was, half was too much!
  • Sponge – my Bokashi draining overflowed, and it’s a horrible smell, so I disposed of the relatively new sponge after mopping it up.
Wednesday Waste - 17 April 2013

Wednesday Waste – 17 April 2013

What are your thoughts on food waste vs food wrapping waste? I know some of my commenters are committed to a wasteless process with fresh produce, kudos to you. I suppose I could implement my food waste audit into this post (without weighing – that just seems too hard!)?  As always, suggestions on limiting the waste listed will be gratefully appreciated.


18 thoughts on “Waste Wednesday update

    • Hey Jacob – there’s a whole zero waste movement out there, but basically I hate taking out the trash, it’s a bonus that it’s good for the environment! And it’s a nice challenge – it’s hard to find alternative in some cases, and oh so easy in other regards (like taking a ice cream container to the butchers – which also means I get just the right amount, cut up like I need, without the food or packaging wastage) – and that’s more important to me than price – which I know is your major driver.

  1. I think most people are torn between enviro concerns and getting the best price. I try to take the enviro route but I’m fortunate that I can pay more if need be. I am not sure I agree with the infographic that says produce lasts better in its original packaging. For instance, you can put lettuce or other greens in a lettuce keeper or a salad spinner once you get it home. The food doesn’t last better “naked,” but you can use your own containers! I think you are doing great on your waste.

    • It’s definitely a price vs other concerns in some many things. I just won’t pay $40 per kg for chocolate at the co-op (plus it’s too oily for my brownies) – but all other options are wrapped in plastic.

      You raised a point I hadn’t considered – your own containers are going to improve the longevity of the food for sure (otherwise, Tupperware would not have such a strong business!!)

    • Thanks for commenting Liz and welcome! I have considered hankies, but initially rejected them for the quantity I’d likely need (pretty regular allergies). The more I audit my waste, the more I think I should start hunting through thrift shops and create the mother of all stashes!

  2. The only thing that that made me cringe after my trip to the Asian supermarket was the amount of packaging everything I bought came in. Some things had two or three layers of packaging!

    I haven’t really got any suggestions – I think you’re doing great! Most of my waste is either food scraps or food packaging.

  3. Here we have more and more packaging on our produce. One week I entered the local grocer to find they had replaced all the loose greens for bags of precut and prewashed. I was shocked. What a waste.

    As for your question about matches, whether wooden or made from cardboard I would think you could bury them in your garden if you snipped the tops off, or compost them.

    • Thanks for the tip about the matches, they are wooden, so I’ll look to add them to my compost without the tops (but if the top igniter bit has burnt through, might it then be OK for the compost?)

      Grr – I hate plastic bags in instances like this – it’s so easy to have a fabric alternative, but it’s too late if everything’s all pre packaged in store. Of course, I’m bold enough to ask them to fill my reusable bag from their stash out the back. Every little bit counts!

      • I don’t know about the match tops which is why I suggested you take them off, but I don’t think it would make much difference either way. If you have little ones around the matchsticks would be fun to craft with or in the case of my grandson to just play pirate with 🙂

        As for those prebagged salads, I prefer to make my own and the little bags of broccoli or cauliflower are so much more expensive than buying it and chopping it at home.

  4. I’m with you, it’s so hard to find alternatives to the plastic on so much of our food. My mum got me into freezing more veggies (e.g. buy whole butternut pumpkin – no plastic – cut into pieces and freeze half.) I get a bit put off because it is so time-consuming intially…but then it’s great once you have a full freezer of pre-cut veggies!

    • Agreed-one week I prepped veggies on a Sunday and ate so healthily, though didn’t get through all the ‘snack’ capsicum so that went bye bye when it got slimey!

      It’s definitely a challenge to defeat plastic and packaging!

  5. Hi there, I’m so glad I found your blog. LOVE what you are doing. Here are my suggestions for reducing waste, based on this week’s trash:

    Tissues – compost or wormery
    Matches – compost
    Food soiled paper – compost
    Ribbon off cuts – probably landfill unless they are long enough for reuse? Just incase they are cotton, bits like that can be composted
    String – keep and reuse
    Alfoil – never heard of it!


    Plastic cup – poke holes in the bottom and sow herb seeds in it for growing on the kitchen windowsill
    Straw – landfill
    Plastic bags from food – Could the almond meal one be reused for taking sandwiches to work?
    Cling wrap – I hear your pain! Can be recycled with carrier bags here in the UK – is that an option for you?
    Sponge – I’d have boiled it to see if it could be reused

    I’m still deciding on the food waste vs packaging deal. I get that a cucumber can last for 6 weeks if shrink wrapped but I’ve seen swedes and even melons wrapped over here which is surely crazy!

    • Thanks for such a detailed response.
      I’ve moved from tissues to homemade hankies. I was worried the quantity of tissues I was producing would ruin the balance in my bokashi bucket style compost. Matches and soiled paper are both things I need to try in my bokashi (in small doses) and see how it handles it. As it’s a more rapid, small system, I don’t want to ruin a batch, but I should just TRY!

      Alfoil is thin metal wrap for food/sandwiches etc, and it can be used in the oven. Maybe you call it tin foil? Cling film can now be recycled with plastic bags, but I’ve largely eliminated it entering my home. I buy ‘whole’ vegetables to beat getting it. But it does mean less celery (as one person will NEVER need or eat a whole head in time!) I’m going to try the sponge boiling – wish me luck.

      Thanks for stopping by, you’re one of the zero waste blogging royalty, I feel so honoured!


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