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  • FIRST POST
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 30th Apr 19, 7:55 PM
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    tighteningthebelt
    Food Waste Audit Diary May 2019
    • #1
    • 30th Apr 19, 7:55 PM
    Food Waste Audit Diary May 2019 30th Apr 19 at 7:55 PM
    Hi everyone!
    I'm doing a tight audit of food waste for May 2019. I don't waste much, but there's always room for improvement with all these skills. I welcome any advice, or anybody who wants to do it along with me.

    A little background...
    I've been doing quite a bit of reading about this. It's obviously difficult for anyone to be exact with figures. The current estimate for food waste in the UK is 7 million tons. This is household food waste, not farm or supermarket waste. In a way such big figures are meaningless for us, too large to imagine. So I went looking for the per household sum... 7 million tons divided by 27 million household is 250kg per household per year. That's 4.8kg of food waste per household per week, or 0.68kg per day. in 'old money' that's 1lb 8oz. These figures seemed irrational to me, so i checked them with an academic at Loughborough Uni who has been in the news regarding food waste recently, and he assures me they are correct. He has challenged me to do a fun food audit. I can't resist a challenge!!

    There are some caveats in the calculations. The figures include food composted by individuals. It includes leftover food given to pets. It includes drinks, or other food disposed of down the sink.

    There are three categories of waste food; avoidable, unavoidable, and possibly avoidable.
    Broadly speaking
    'Avoidable' is food that could have been eaten at some point, but that has spoiled due to being left too long, examples might be mouldy bread or liquefied cucumber.
    'Unavoidable' is things like banana or pineapple skins, eggshells, used teabags, that were never edible.
    'Possibly avoidable' is things like peelings, which some people might eat and other not.

    (I did briefly consider whether 'unavoidable' can even be classed as 'waste', the word waste implies carelessness and even extravagance to my mind, but I don't want to get too hung up on that, the figures have to be comparable or else it isn't a challenge at all!!)

    So, this is how i will do my food waste diary... I'm going to discount 'possibly avoidable' as I eat edible things! I'm going to sort my food waste through the day into 'avoidable' and 'unavoidable'. After tea each night I'm going to weigh them, and post on here with any notes. I'm also going to make a note of how many people have eaten, as that's quite variable here, but on average there is a 'household'. I don't eat out, so there won't be any waste hidden from the figures.

    There you go! I'll do my level best. Do join in or respond with your ideas, suggestions and experiences. (oh and its the first time I've started a thread, so forgive me if I've done anything that needs forgiveness)
    "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more" Louis L'Amour
    GC (annual budget) 314.88 left of 1800 on 19th October. (pretty sure I'm not going to make that target!!)
    15/65
Page 6
    • -taff
    • By -taff 14th May 19, 4:31 PM
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    -taff
    I have so far got my waste down to one very small bag per week(usually the bag that perhaps the banana or potatoes have come in.This usually consists of banana skins coffee grounds or tea bags with a few egg shells. and maybe some discarded veg trimmings.
    Originally posted by JackieO

    Can you dig a little hole in the dirt and put these in? Coffee grounds are nitrogen based so they're ok just to scatter round plants...Crushed eggshells can also be scattered. It won't stop slugs though, ive tried with industrial amounts.....[got a massive couple of buckets ful from the canteen in work in another job to try....Didn't work...
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 14th May 19, 8:42 PM
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    tighteningthebelt
    Great to see how everyone does things! thanks for all the constructive comments and taking the time to write and post them, its fascinating.

    today there were 2 for breakfast, 1 for lunch, 1 for tea.

    since i'm still eating the setasides from the big prep the other day i haven't made much waste again today.

    declaring 95g unavoidable in the form of eggshells, coffee grounds, teabags (a miracle... just 2 today, its been hot so more water and squash)apple core, pear core.
    "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more" Louis L'Amour
    GC (annual budget) 314.88 left of 1800 on 19th October. (pretty sure I'm not going to make that target!!)
    15/65
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 15th May 19, 8:34 PM
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    tighteningthebelt
    Evening!
    today; 2 for breakfast, 1 for lunch, 2 for tea.
    about finished the setasides now.

    today 90g unavoidable teabags, salad bits, pear core, coffee grounds.
    5g avoidable bit of dodgy looking carrot and perfectly serviceable radish bottoms
    "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more" Louis L'Amour
    GC (annual budget) 314.88 left of 1800 on 19th October. (pretty sure I'm not going to make that target!!)
    15/65
    • themadvix
    • By themadvix 16th May 19, 7:58 AM
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    themadvix
    Morning!

    Those amounts are going down TTB - impressive! I, on the other hand, have thrown out rather too much this week... and I've discovered the problem. I know what needs using in my fridge and remember to use it.... However, DH is not as good at knowing/checking and I forget to communicate clearly to him sometimes. He's responsible for (fridge bottom) stir fries (usually Friday, but also last night this week)... and twice this week we've had to throw things because he's not used them in the stir fry and they've gone mouldy. Better communication is needed (it's not intentional on his part, but he is forgetful - drives me up the wall!).

    I've been thinking more about the avoidable/unavoidable/possibly avoidable thing and I guess there is a need to categorise *all* waste for this sort of research, so that things don't just sneak into the wrong category and get missed. It also means that analysis can be extrapolated about the quantities - if councils collect weights of food waste, but from studies they know that x% is unavoidable, they can make estimations about how much *is* avoidable, iyswim. (Perhaps this was hugely obvious to others, but it's taken me a while to get there!)
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 16th May 19, 8:02 AM
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    trailingspouse
    It's ironic that prepping 'real' food produces more unavoidable food waste than using ready meals etc - all those peelings and stalks and egg shells and so on. BUT - ready meals result in more packaging to chuck out.

    And as many people have pointed out, at least the unavoidable food waste can be put to other uses, whether that's on the compost heap or out to the birds, or fed to the dog. And there's still food waste when ready meals are made - it's just not created by us, it's created at the factory - we're just shifting the waste (and the blame, I guess) around.

    Unavoidable food waste so far today - nil. But - eventually there will be a cardboard cereal box with a plastic inner, and a plastic milk bottle to dispose of (and I won't be able to put them on the compost heap).
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 16th May 19, 5:16 PM
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    JackieO
    today really pleased as this was unavoidable waste
    one banana skin
    the core and seeds from a red pepper
    stalks from a handful of grapes

    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 18th May 19, 6:52 PM
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    tighteningthebelt
    sorry for the delay! a funny couple of days.
    thursday 160 unavoidable
    friday - lost waste before i counted it (ds being helpful) but guessing 150g unavoidable and 10g avoidable from memory
    saturday 210g unavoidable 85g avoidable (including potato peelings... i wanted mash!)
    i'm back on it now.
    "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more" Louis L'Amour
    GC (annual budget) 314.88 left of 1800 on 19th October. (pretty sure I'm not going to make that target!!)
    15/65
    • tiredwithtwins
    • By tiredwithtwins 19th May 19, 9:05 AM
    • 464 Posts
    • 1,532 Thanks
    tiredwithtwins
    eggy pan scrapings came from overcooking scrambled eggs because i was faffing about saving 5 breadcrumbs from the bread bag into freezer.
    Originally posted by tighteningthebelt

    haha, that's the sort of thing I do ..




    with regards to the wasting of pesto .. my pesto tends not to get wasted cos I could easily just eat it out the jar ha, but if im not going to use it for a while, scrape down the sides of the jar, so any stuck to the side is in the jar with the rest, then pour a thin film of olive oil over the top .. keep in fridge and I find it makes it last a bit longer. if you don't like pesto too oily, either pour it off before using the pesto, or use the oil to mix with pasta or to fry ...
    dec gc epic fail!/150 ..jan 140/160 ..feb gc 90/150
    mar 100/120 apr 85/120
    wading through the treacle of life!
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 19th May 19, 7:56 PM
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    tighteningthebelt
    Hi
    declaring 125g unavoidable (peel from 2 oranges, teabags, eggshells) 10g avoidable (two squishy grapes and some cake crumbs left on worktop)
    Must also declare today was unusual... dad brought tea and pudding for us... have only accounted for what went in my bin!
    I'm busy boiling up some kidney beans for tomorrows peeling frenzy!
    "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more" Louis L'Amour
    GC (annual budget) 314.88 left of 1800 on 19th October. (pretty sure I'm not going to make that target!!)
    15/65
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 19th May 19, 7:58 PM
    • 301 Posts
    • 3,029 Thanks
    tighteningthebelt

    with regards to the wasting of pesto .. my pesto tends not to get wasted cos I could easily just eat it out the jar ha, but if im not going to use it for a while, scrape down the sides of the jar, so any stuck to the side is in the jar with the rest, then pour a thin film of olive oil over the top .. keep in fridge
    Originally posted by tiredwithtwins
    fab tip. thanks. I do get my money's worth out of my spatula!!
    "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more" Louis L'Amour
    GC (annual budget) 314.88 left of 1800 on 19th October. (pretty sure I'm not going to make that target!!)
    15/65
    • HelenPetersBeads
    • By HelenPetersBeads 20th May 19, 5:44 AM
    • 24 Posts
    • 36 Thanks
    HelenPetersBeads
    Kidney beans for a peeling frenzy????

    This sounds intriguing!
    • tighteningthebelt
    • By tighteningthebelt 25th May 19, 7:59 PM
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    tighteningthebelt
    right guys, I'm so sorry, but i'm going to have to duck out. I've been silly busy and I have limited energy resources.
    struggling to post the table so it'll have to do!
    column 1 date
    column 2 unavoidable waste
    column 3 avoidable waste
    column 4 day total


    01 115 30 145
    02 65 95 160
    03 475 10 485
    04 75 525 600
    05 125 20 145
    06 155 10 165
    07 115 10 125
    08 155 0 155
    09 40 0 40
    10 90 15 105
    11 210 40 250
    12 315 25 340
    13 100 0 100
    14 95 0 95
    15 90 5 95
    16 160 0 160
    17 150 10 160
    18 210 85 295


    totals for the 18 day period
    unavoidable 2740g
    avoidable 880g (over half from 1 spoiled pineapple)
    total 3620g
    daily averages
    3620/18 days is an average of 201g per day
    comprising; average unavoidable 152g. average avoidable 48g.
    extrapolating those figures annually
    73.4kg a year in total
    55.6kg unavoidable
    17.5kg avoidable

    could have done better, could have done worse.

    one thing i know for sure is that's its very very hard to keep on top of this when you're busy with other things!!!

    I certainly wan't judgy about this in any way before, and i'm glad because i know with great certainty you can easily weigh in 74kg/year for just 1.5ish people when being very diligent and cooking from fresh.

    This last few days I've eaten out and had a chippy, just because i've been kn..shattered. then there's no real point in doing the adding as you've just delegated your prep waste to someone else! Again I wasn't judgy about this before because I know many people on this forum are parents to dependent children, caring for family members, working full time, have their own problems, just about coping, prioritising other things with their attention, or all of the above... but I was really surprised how quickly my diligence in the measuring and preparing from fresh fell apart when things kicked up a notch here for me and my gang.

    In summary, and having given it a great deal of thought, I'd come back to where we all started out... that it's unfair to count your unavoidable and avoidable together, and while recognising both categories have the same environmental impact in decomposition, both categories do not have the same blame loading, or the same opportunity to effect change at the household level. I've got a residual shimmer of irritation that whoever is the decision maker about how these figures are compiled and communicated has facilitated that. But then I often think that about official figures once you've drilled down into them a bit and winkled out the detail behind the headlines.

    anyways, must crack on...

    It's been a pleasure, and thank you so much to everyone who has been supportive and made great suggestions. Appreciated.
    "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more" Louis L'Amour
    GC (annual budget) 314.88 left of 1800 on 19th October. (pretty sure I'm not going to make that target!!)
    15/65
    • themadvix
    • By themadvix 27th May 19, 10:14 AM
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    themadvix
    No need to apologise TTB - it's been very enlightening all round - from the way it's measured to the amounts you've produced and I know I've learnt from your experiment (know how to keep a pineapple good now, learnt that they produce them with geothermal heat in Iceland and about ethylene in bananas - thanks SL!).

    I'll certainly remain more aware of food waste as a result. Thanks for sharing with us!
    • Vanlady
    • By Vanlady 28th May 19, 6:42 AM
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    • 672 Thanks
    Vanlady
    Ditto.....no need to apologise TTB.
    It been so interesting reading your journey and has made me much more aware of any food that I waste.....I now think twice before cutting off the end of that carrot! .
    Thank you for sharing with us x
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 28th May 19, 7:25 AM
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    bouicca21
    It hasn’t changed my attitudes since most of my food waste is in the unavoidable category and practically all of that goes to my worms. I just didn’t realise that the unavoidable still counted as food waste.

    It’s all in the semantics, waste from food versus wasted food.

    My concerns now are about reducing my plastic waste - most of which comes from pre-wrapped food.
    • Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    • By Crafty Lisa Hampshire 28th May 19, 12:40 PM
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    Crafty Lisa Hampshire
    Don't apologise. It has been an eye opener for me and I appreciate what you have done up to now has been quite demanding. Thanks for enlightening me.
    • HelenPetersBeads
    • By HelenPetersBeads 29th May 19, 8:18 AM
    • 24 Posts
    • 36 Thanks
    HelenPetersBeads
    As everyone else has said, no need to apologise, it's been an eye-opener for me also. I was (am) one of the judgey ones, what came into our house got consumed either by the humans, dog, cat, worms or local wildlife, but now knowing that the figures quoted include things like dead teabags and banana skins etc it had made me much more aware of how the amount of food waste can be so high.

    p.s. I found a random bran flake hanging out on the floor the other day, I think they make a break for it occasionally which would explain your one the other week.
    • Blackbeard of Perranporth
    • By Blackbeard of Perranporth 29th May 19, 2:20 PM
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    Blackbeard of Perranporth
    Hope everyone had some fun reducing our food waste. We only threw peel out last month, with chicken bones given to the birds, as well as the excess pastry. Zest from lemons went in the spotted Richard, but orange peels remain a problematic.

    So we had four caddies the whole month, most of which were not full.

    Be back later if we go again?
    Cardiac Arrest - Electrical - Patient unconscious! Heart Attack - Plumbing - Patient conscious!
    Defibrillators Cannot Cure a Heart Attack!
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