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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to learning and sharing how much you save!"
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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 PBSparents.org, 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 thescramble.com. For more information, contact Aviva@thescramble.com.