Earth Day or Any Day, Don’t Toss Your Cash With Your Trash

Aviva Goldfarb of The Six O'Clock Scramble fame shares her "Earth Day Every Day" suggestions for living greener in the kitchen that will save you money, too.

"If I asked you to reach into your wallet and grab a couple of twenty dollar bills, and rip them up and throw them away, you’d probably think I was crazy, right?  But that’s essentially what most Americans are doing each and every week!  According to an article in On Earth magazine, “Americans waste 30 – 40% of their food, or the equivalent of about two full meals a day.” 

Think about those weeks that you buy food without having carefully planned your meals.  Do you end up throwing away more flimsy produce, expired meats, or moldy cheese? There are high costs to wasting all this food, and they're not just economic. All this extra food has to be produced and transported before it’s eaten and even after it’s discarded, resulting in higher energy costs and emissions. 

What to do?

I’ve found my family can vastly reduce waste and save hundreds of dollars each month by:

* planning ahead for meals and snacks before grocery shopping,

* grocery shopping just once a week,

* keeping a grocery list on the refrigerator for all family members to update during the week so I can stick to shopping just once a week, and

* using up as much leftover food as possible in a final meal or two before doing the weekly shopping.

Start Composting

Even if you do plan your meals and cook at home, you’re bound to have some waste.  Last year my family started composting as a way to reuse some of our waste and reduce the amount of trash that has to be hauled from our curb.

While the thought of composting was a little intimidating, it turns out to be the easiest thing in the world! Each day I collect our fruit and vegetable rinds, peels and ends, along with any egg shells and coffee grounds, in a bowl on the kitchen counter.  At the end of the day I dump the bowl’s contents into a large plastic kitty litter bin I keep under our kitchen sink.  When the bin is full, we dump the contents in a pile in our back yard, rinse the bin with the hose, and start over.  This summer we’ll use some of the compost to enrich our garden, but until then, we can feel good knowing that we reduced the amount of waste that is transported and takes up space in local landfills. 

(NOTE: If you want to get a compost bin, Big Green Purse sells them in our store here.)

This month, let’s all commit to saving money and the environment by reducing our food waste.  Please keep me posted on how your family has met or plans to meet this challenge by commenting on The Scramble Facebook page or via twitter(@thescramble) or by email at I look forward to learning and sharing how much you save!"


Earth Day Bonus!

Between now and Earth Day (April 22), use the promo code EarthDay12 to get $5 off every subscription to The Six O'Clock Scramble weekly plan. As an added benefit, The Scramble will donate 5% of its Earth Day sales to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Subscribe to The Scramble here.


Aviva Goldfarb is a family dinner expert, mother of two and the author and founder of The Six O'Clock Scramble, an online dinner planning system and cookbook. Her most recent cookbook, “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families” was named one of the best cookbooks of 2010 by the Washington Post .  Aviva contributes weekly to the Kitchen Explorers blog on, and often appears on television, radio, and in magazines such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Working Mother, Kiwi, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and Prevention.You can sign up for her weekly newsletter at For more information, contact



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7 Responses to Earth Day or Any Day, Don’t Toss Your Cash With Your Trash

  1. Mary @ Green Global Travel April 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    I think composting is a great way for many families to keep from taking up space in landfills. It is so easy to do. Thanks for sharing this tip!

  2. molly brewer April 23, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Just have one- I shop for groceries only monthly and have for years. Yes, you can do it, and no, even milk won’t spoil. I don’t have leftovers, ever, and do compost things like coffee grounds, lettuce cores and fruit peels. And egg shells, smashed up a bit. My plants thrive, and my wallet is a bit fatter since I don’t have the opportunity to spend ‘just a little bit’ extra every week./

  3. Maricris @ SittingAround April 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. I am able to do those stuff except keeping a grocery list on the refrigerator. Well, will try that one.

  4. Food Saver Dad June 3, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    This is really great information- hope you don’t mind if I share some with my readers.
    If you are interested, we have some great tips for saving money on food. Stop over please and share your ways to save.

  5. Bookkeeping Service Sunshine Coast November 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    I had no idea that we waste so much money and food! This makes me think of the starving people and children who cannot afford to buy food. Thank you for the tips that you listed, maybe it’s because we get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to plan for our meals.

  6. Marcus from Simple 1300 Number November 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Excellent article, as a bachelor I generally eat out, so I hardly waste any food. I really like the idea of composting though, its kind of like investing back into the soil, then using that soil to grow new fruit and vegetables for free!

  7. Diane MacEachern November 13, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    Actually, restaurants may waste a lot of food, as they throw out what patrons don’t eat and can only keep perishables so long. Taking home your left-overs not only saves you money, but reduces food waste, too.

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