Sunday, July 20, 2008

Guest Post-A-Palooza Day 5

How much food goes to waste in YOUR household?

I had other ideas about what I would blog about tonight, grand ideas that would take some time to research. However, I find that right now, all I want to do is rant. So, I am going to have a semi-productive rant.

I live on a *very* limited income. I share a large-ish house with two other adults (they are brother and sister, and I claim them as my brother and sister because they are my best friend's brother and sister), their three children (she has two, he has one), and my child. We split the rent (2/2/1, with *him* having the one/fifth ratio), the bills (1/1/1), and the food (1/1/1/).

Being in this situation, it is obvious to me that we should be respectful to one another and conserve as much energy, food, and water as possible. We should not be letting water run in the sink untended, putting the air down to 70 degrees during the day when nobody is home, or wasting food. Right? Common sense, I would think.

However, since we *first* moved in together, my child and I have limited most of our showers to 15 minutes or less, with a few running longer if we were hurt, tired, or stressed out. My roommate takes 20 minute showers, daily. Her son would turn the water on, sit on the toilet for 20 minutes, then get in the shower and bathe for 10 minutes. It has bothered me since we moved in together, but no matter what I say, she *insists* that my child and I use more water than they do, collectively. Whatever.

I have a habit of setting my thermostat and leaving it be. If i get hot, i put on a fan. If i get cold, I pull on a blanket. I probably don't conserve as much energy as I should with the thermostat, and I will gladly admit that I am spoiled in that I have almost *always* had air conditioning and like to use it during the summer. However, I do shut off lights when I'm not using them. I turn off the tvs and radios overnight, and I trained my child years ago to turn off light switches when leaving the room. My roommate? They leave lights on through the whole main part of the house - hallway, living room, kitchen - whether they are using them or not, because they don't like the dark. Both my roommate and her son leave their radios on all night long. They turn the air to an extreme to cool/warm the *whole* house instead of using the space heater or fan to cool off the *one* room they are using to hang out.

I like to recycle. I think it is healthy, I think it is helpful - no matter how little my effort counts in the scope of the world, I think it only takes a minimal effort on my part to make a huge difference in my own contribution to the trash. My roommates? No. They don't recycle. They don't like to rinse the cans out before they put them in the trash. They figure it all gets dumped in the same place anyway, what's the point?

Now, here's my biggest pet peeve. Food.

When I cook, I cook a lot of food, because I know I like it - and I can eat it the next day or the day after. I put food in the refrigerator and take care to package it properly so that it will be as "fresh" as possible the next day. When i cook, my leftovers do *not* go to waste. It is amazing how much food I throw away every week out of the refrigerator. Meat that was prepared but not cooked. Half-drank sodas or juice boxes. A can of soup half eaten. A head of lettuce used once for a sandwich. Tomatoes that didn't get touched because I was told they were for a particular purpose, but that purpose never came about. A whole box of pasta that was prepared but not used because they didn't have the milk or the butter to put into sauce. Half-eaten fruit. Half-eaten dishes. Bread that got hard or moldy because they don't like to keep it int he refrigerator, where it will last longer, but they ALSO don't like to keep the twist-tie on it - they just fold it over and call it done (ew, gross!). At least one a month, I fill an entire trash bag with wasted food. What the heck is going on here?

There are five of them in the house. Why aren't they eating all these leftovers and all this food? What in the world is going on? I asked once. I was told, "I do not like leftovers. When we were growing up, we didn't eat them. Only Mom ate the leftovers." You know why? Because they were so poor, there was *only* enough food to cook one meal at a time, and there were six of them in the family, so that food got eaten up really freaking quickly! So, why cook so much if you're not going to eat it the next day? Well, because they want there to be plenty now. *Insert eye roll here.*

I know I could do better with the other resources we use. I *know* I could conserve more energy and water. I do not think, however, that I waste either needlessly. My thermostat goes up during the day because I'm not here (or down during the winter), and while I take long showers, I don't run the water the whole time, plus I use a thingamajig that helps conserve water. But the waste of food? That is a very physical, very noticeable, very tangible waste of resources and money. Not to mention all the starving kids it could feed if it were possible to get it to them.

I'm disgusted by it. Once again, I am going to make more of an effort to rescue what they are wasting. Wish me luck!

Oh, and if you want to discuss, answer this: How much food do YOU waste in your household??

Thanks for listening (reading)

Oh, and if you want to know more about me, or you like randomness, check out my blog, "Random Thoughts and Musings," at



Godfather said...

nice work, i agree to much wastage of food these days

Eyebee said...

I agree with all your rant really. I was bought up not to waste stuff, and I still don't

I get in the shower as soon as the water is warm; don't run the faucet when cleaning teeth; turn off the lights, leave the thermostat at 74 in the summer.

Food never gets wasted usually. I put leftovers in the refrigerator and have them the next day, often added to something else to make a different dish, or I eat it for lunch/breakfast etc.

Devyl Gyrl said...

That is awesome @eyebee ... I'm glad to hear that others have the same habits - I wish everyone did. The things I do are *easy* to implement, really. I need to be more conscientious and try to do some of the *harder* things too.


thehawke said...

I know we could do better. We don't have AC to run in the summer but I have learned to turn down the furnace when we are gone during the day in the winter. Our animals have fur so its not like they need it.

I'm sick of us wasting food too. I've gotten to where we won't buy a dozen eggs anymore because we never use them. I'm only allowing purchase of 3-4 bananas at a time so they actually get eaten. To me, it is money in the trash. And I don't know about you, but I NEED that money!

Shelley said...

A great rant there and I agree there is too much wastage around. I guess if it was me in that living situation I would buy my own fridge/cupboard and my own food and stop financially supporting their wastage.

leonniefm said...

Good work. I agree that no one should waste power, energy, resources and food too. I rather do it not for the sake of just other people and the world. I do it for the respect to myself and everybody in the household and to our effort for making every each of them available in the house. Counting every facts there is to make one house runs without any lack of need, it is hurtful to see things got wasted.