Jess’ Post: Continuing the Food Waste Discussion

Hello everyone!

This week I’m going to continue sharing the answers to the food waste questions I posed to my friends and family to show different perspectives other than mine on the issue. Last week’s questions focused on what the participants believed the term food waste to be and their opinions on whether have a food waste problem in the U.S. The next two questions focus on whether the individuals think about their own food waste:

Q3: Do you consciously think about how much food (moldy, expired, food scraps, etc.) you throw away?

  • “Yes, I used to save a lot of vegetable scraps to make stocks but I’ve found that time has limited my use. I’ll always try to cut away mold if I find it and usually use my sense of smell as a judgment. I always feel really bad about letting anything get moldy or get that funky smell (is that also from mold???)”

  • “I do. But in our house we buy ‘quality’ food. CSA, organic, non-GMO, local, etc. We also have 2 young kids that we are trying to teach about food and eating. So I am conscious about a couple of things: a. food budget for our family month to month, b. what my kids will eat (or won’t eat) and where that eventually ends up (leftovers, dog, my belly, or trash)”

  • “I try. I prefer to stop at the grocery store every few days to buy produce I know I can eat quickly or will last longer. I drive past the grocery store on my way home everyday, so I’m not concerned about increasing my carbon footprint with extra trips to the market. I also try to freeze things like half-loaves of bread or extra rice if I don’t think I can eat it all before it spoils”

  • “Yes. it bothers me, because my household all eats different diets, has different schedules and family members don’t go out of their way enough to rummage in the fridge or cabinets to create good meals. Meat and convenience are too important. So fresh food ends up going bad too often in my household”

  • “Yes we do. We limit the fresh food we purchase to buying it when we need it or intend to use it that day. We also only buy enough for what we need. We do buy extra meat etc. then grill it all at once and eat it throughout the week”

  • “Generally yes, mainly when cleaning out the fridge. Having a compost bin really lends perspective to this issue”

Clearly, there’s a lot going on here! Many of these answers hit on points that many of us can relate to: the lack of time to plan or go grocery shopping, preferring convenience, diet issues, budgeting and money, and lacking knowledge about how long food really lasts. We live in a system that doesn’t really lend itself to reducing waste, and addressing these issues takes adjusting other parts of our lives rather than trying to fit them into our current lifestyles. Which leads me to my next question!

Q4: Have you ever composted or set aside food that you throw away to visually see how much you toss? Would you consider doing an experiment like this?

  • “Yes. The visual of seeing what I toss into my Mr. Fox bin is really what has gotten me to be better about what I throw away. I pay more attention to the celery in the fridge and try to make a soup or something before it goes bad”

  • “We compost, not as an experiment, but because we do plant an extensive garden every spring. So I feel somewhat less guilty about compostable foods, but guilty about milk, meat and grains we throw away”

  • “I’m living at home currently, and we keep a bowl of compost materials on a shelf in the garage. Once the bowl is full we trek out to the compost pile to dump it”

  • “I really want to! Unfortunately I don’t live in a place that allows for composting and Mr. Fox is a bit too much for my budget. I’d gladly donate my compostable scraps to someone who can use them since I can’t have a garden at my place either. I keep trying to get my best friend and his wife to set a compost bin in their backyard so I have a place to bring my compost. They live in Nashua, which is a drive, but I go down there all the time anyway to visit”

  • “Yes, I compost food at home (not at school) and it’s incredible to see how fast it piles up. Even at school when I am making dinner the pile of food scraps that are just a product of peeling or trimming vegetables is incredible”

  • “We generally don’t throw away food, we are big fans of having leftovers. We both work and it’s easy to re-heat leftovers. I’ve never thought much about composting, I don’t think we generate much food waste…. And quite honestly….we don’t really have yard room for composting”

  • “I’ve been composting for the past year and it’s amazing how little I throw away now. I live in a town that makes you buy town trash bags so I end up saving money on bags because I don’t have to put them out every week”


Once again, this group of responses was great! Composting is the best way to discard food because it can be used in your garden eventually. For those of you who lack yards, look into Mr. Fox composting, indoor composting, or find a neighbor who composts or create a neighborhood compost pile (yay community!) Here are some great composting resources:

For this weeks food challenge try to monitor how much food you throw away. This includes scraps, expired goods, leftovers, moldy food, etc. Set it aside in a bin or baggy if you don’t compost. You’ll be amazed at what you see! Come back next week for the answers to questions 5 and 6. Until then-

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