Blimmin' 'eck, don't these weeks come around so fast. Already we're getting cracking with Week 3 of The Rubbish Diet Challenge and what a week we've got coming up!
After testing out your recycling muscles and sending you off shopping, this week we're going to tackle the slops. Yes, it's time to talk food waste.
Now food waste is a topic that's really close to my heart because four years ago, when I first attempted to slim my bin, I was a total slopaholic. You know the kind of thing. My life was very much like..."if you cook too much food, no worries, just bung it the bin". "If you buy too much take-away. no worries... just bung it in the bin." "Rotten bananas? No worries...let's aim them at the compost bin"..... and so on, culminating in my wasteful habits being symbolised by my ornamental melons, where I confess how bad I really was.
These days, while I am by no means Mrs Perfect - and yes the only reason my husband threatens to join Twitter is to he can post pictures of various dodgy carrots and floppy rhubarb - our food waste has reduced down remarkably, just by changing shopping habits, combatting temptations and understanding family patterns. And in doing so, we've saved a stash of cash too.
This week's mission, should you choose to accept it:
So, if food waste is your thing, let's get those sleeves rolled up and get rummaging amongst those slops for your Week 3 mini-challenges, As ever, all these suggestions are supported by a relevant section in The Rubbish Diet Challenge guide.
1. Keep a food waste diary, to discover what types of food are regularly thrown away. Think of ways to reduce these, either by reducing the amount you buy or serve, storing the items differently to extend shelf life or using them differently. The website www.lovefoodhatewaste.com has absolutely loads of advice that can help. I also love blogger Kate Stuart's Monthly Food Waste Challenge, where she picks an ingredient commonly wasted every month and finds new ways of reusing it. Last month it was cream and this month it's bananas! She'd welcome your own ideas if you want to join in and you can also catch her on Twitter at @turquoiselemons.
2. What are your other food waste traps? Think about the situations that lead up to food waste. For example, no-time to cook, cooking too much, different appetites, an interrupted schedule, or a disorganised kitchen? Now list solutions that can help turn this around and work on these over the next month.
3. Organise a family meeting especially if you have children, so that you can discuss ideas about how you can reduce your food waste. Ask for suggestions about their favourite meals and if there is something they really don't like, consider taking it off the family menu.
4. If you're not a confident cook, start experimenting more and challenge yourself to turning leftovers into new meals with some simple herbs and spices. Try to add just five recipes to your repertoire over the next month.
5. Consider solutions such as home composting, wormeries or bokashi bins for remaining food waste that can't be resolved easily, but treat that as part of your rubbish diet too and see if you can slim that down along with your rubbish bin. This also applies even if your council has a food waste collection.
Well, I hope that gives you all food for thought this week - yes, I know I couldn't resist that little pun. Meanwhile, let's catch up with our bin slimmers, i.e. the households who have volunteered for me to mentor them along the process. Most of them will be having their rubbish collected this week, so let's see how they're doing. (Results will be updated as they come in).
Household: 2 adults, in Ipswich Borough, Suffolk.
WK1 Weigh-in: 1.5 large bags, filling one third of a wheelie bin (fortnightly): WK 3: 2 half-size bags.
2. Ness. @NessyThompson
Household: 2 adults & 5 children, a rural village in Mid Suffolk
WK1 Weigh-in: 2 full wheelie bins (fortnightly). WK 3: 1 wheelie bin, containing just two rubbish bags.
3. Donna. @Donna_De
Household: 2 adults, in Tower Hamlets in London. www.beatinglimitations.com/blog
WK1 Weigh-in: 1 30L rubbish sack. (weekly). WK 3: 1 30L rubbish sack, now only 3/4 full.
4. Amy. @AmyMarpman
Household: 2 adults in New York City. www.beyondthebluebin.com
WK1 Weigh-in: 2 bin bags - estimated 9kg / 20lbs. (Weekly) WK 3: 1 small bag - 3.6kg / 8lbs
5: Kate. @BusinessPlumber
Household: 2 adults, in a rural village in Mid Suffolk : www.businessplumber.co.uk
WK1 Weigh-in: 1 unusually full wheelie bin - incl Christmas waste. (fortnightly): WK 3 2 & 1/2 kitchen waste bags.
6: Jax. @LiveOtherwise
Household: 2 adults, 3 children & a baby on its way, in Suffolk Coast. http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup/
WK1 Weigh-in: 7 small bin bags - filling one third or half of a wheelie bin (fortnightly). WK 3?
Household: 2 adults, 2 children, Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire
WK 1 Weigh-in: 3 large bin bags, almost filling a whole wheelie bin. (weekly). WK 3?
Household: 2 adults, 3 children, Lincolnshire. www.bringingupcharlie.co.uk
WK 1 Weigh-in: 1 full wheelie bin (fortnightly). WK3: 3/4 full, with 13 small bags.
Don't forget, just because the Rubbish Diet challenge is already in WK 3, it doesn't mean that you can't join in. Just visit the online guide to catch up with everything you need to do. There's also lots happening on Twitter too, so to join in the conversation just use the hashtag #therubbishdiet, or tweet @karencannard.
And if you're a blogger, remember to share your latest blogpost on the topic using the clever little linky below. If you're got any questions, please feel free to get in touch.