Save in Big Ways with Composting and Meal Planning

Article provided by Emily Kitchin


Do you know how much food you waste each week by forgetting to use it before it goes bad? Well, neither do I.
So it came as a surprise to me the other day when 3 Grade 6 girls told me that in each Canadian Household $28 worth of food each week is wasted – this adds up to $1456 per year.
This made me take a good look at how I shop and use the food that I have in my fridge and pantry. I’d much rather be spending that $1456 per year on something other than the garbage bin … such as a holiday or some new  books!

I started out by creating a meal plan.  Meal Planning is becoming more and more popular. It helps to reduce waste by helping you plan what you need to buy for the week and then buying only that. It also saves on time with trips to the supermarket being reduced to once per week instead of a couple. Another added benefit is that you are less likely to splurge or impulse buy as you know what you need already!

I’ve been doing this for about a month now and I have got to tell you, I’m loving it – I have so much free time now that I don’t need to constantly shop or dither about what we are going to have for dinner … ain’t nobody got time for that.

Here are a couple of examples you could try:

1. You could try using a Master themed template that you could use week by week to make your meal plan like:

MONDAY Pasta Night
TUESDAY Mexican Night
WEDNESDAY Chicken Night
FRIDAY … & Fries Night
SATURDAY Vegetarian Night
SUNDAY Roast Night

so then for one week your meal plan could look like this:

MONDAY Lasagna
 WEDNESDAY Honey & Garlic Chicken with Veggies
FRIDAY Burgers & Fries
SATURDAY Mixed Vegetables
SUNDAY Roast Beef with Carrots & Potatoes
This makes it a little bit easier when you’re sitting down to plan your meals and may also take less time.
2. Another way is to have a list of favorite family meals that you can pick from for the week, so you are never stuck for ideas.  This is a great way to get the kids involved.  You could even let them plan the menu for the week and help with the shopping list.
From your meal plan, you just make up an ironclad shopping list and don’t waiver from there. At the end of the week, there is no food to be thrown out that was not used because you used it all!
Moving onto the waste you can’t avoid …
The same 3 Grade 6 girls also shared with me that 31 Billion Dollars worth of food that is wasted in Canada each year and nearly one third of household waste can be composted.. They were so energized and excited about composting that their passion definitely jumped over to me.
Before I looked into it- Composting seemed like a lot of hard and smelly work! Turns outs, I’d been listening to a lot of composting myths – good thing I never tried to pass on that information.
To be more specific, I am talking about vermicomposting.  Yes, I want worms.  It’s actually really easy to set up and maintain as long as you always have food scraps and because I love food, I know I will.
All you need is:
* A plastic tub with a lid (call NEAT for modification instructions)
* About 10-15cm slightly damp shredded paper or torn up paper egg cartons
* Some worms (red wigglers)
* A nice, dark place to put it (just out of the way but easy to access).
Once you have this all set up you can start burying little bits of food waste at a time. Things like:
* Crushed up eggshells
* Fruit cores (apples, pears)
* Vegetable scraps
* Leaves from indoor plants
* Banana Peels
* Shredded Paper
* Coffee grounds
* Tea Bags
By burying the waste in the soil, there will be no rotten food smell when you open the box and all that you should smell is a nice earthy soil smell.

There are a couple of personal benefits to composting like it reduces your amount of waste and if you’re a gardener, compost is much better to put on your plants than chemicals for growth support. The overall benefit to society is that it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce waste in landfills.

I’ll be setting up my compost tub over the next few weeks but I’ve already got lots of goodies to feed my worms (all set to go in the freezer). I think now is the best time to get it going. By Spring, I will have lots of good soil to put in the garden and I’ll have a head start with my growing season!!


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