Sunday, 1 March 2009

Waste vs. waist

As part of my efforts to get fitter and healthier, I'm a member of a diet and fitness website, and often read the forums on there. I have noticed that when people ask for food ideas, there is recommendation of home cooked food as well as "diet" ready meals, which is brilliant to see. A recent thread on what to have for dinner for about 300 calories not only gathered suggestions of Weight Watchers ready meals, Quorn cottage pie, boil in the bag fish and rice, and other pre-packed stuff, but also ideas including fresh fish and meat, and recipes for vegetable soup, butternut squash casserole, and Spanish omelette.

This must also mean a reduction in packaging. Ready meals have at least a plastic dish, film lid and cardboard or plastic box/wrapper. Supermarket "healthy goodies" often come in acres of plastic, sometimes wrapped separately in individual portions "for calorie control". Fresh fruit and veg, however, can be had with minimal packaging, as can meat and fish if you venture beyond the fluorescent-lit halls of Tesco et al. So it's great to see people recommending these things to each other - I think that is generally much more successful than a finger-wagging nanny state - right, wastebloggers? :)

Of course, it's not an absolute link. You can buy plenty of chocolate in recyclable paper and foil, and wine and beer are not known for their unrecyclable packaging either, to give two examples. But I have found that the two things are often mutually supportive:
  • I make fewer frivolous/impulse purchases, and those I do make often involve fruit.
  • I make more effort to buy in bulk, and use small pots and tubs to take what I need to work or out for the day.
  • I bake my own cakey snacks which are tastier and more satisfying than the shop alternatives.
  • I plan the week's food in advance, and don't fall victim to "I can't be bothered, let's order a takeaway" syndrome.
  • I know how much food I should be eating, and I don't have lots of extra things hanging around the house being tempting.
I've said before, I do have the luxury of no picky eaters to feed, and time for planning, shopping and cooking (although by no means do I slave over a hot shopping list for hours) - not everyone is in the same position. But this time last year you didn't find me cycling to the local shops for my fresh produce (more health benefits!) or taking half an hour on a Saturday morning to look up a few recipes and decide which old favourites are coming up this week. These are small changes I've made that are really working.

I don't think what I do is a particular hassle. And if it has double benefits, then surely it's even more worth it! What other benefits are you all finding from your waste reduction efforts?


  1. It's interesting that when I did a weekly shop on Sunday, I've got so much hanging around my small kitchen, there's physically not enough space. What I've found about reducing rubbish, is that I now spend more time at home instead of at the shops and it is fantastic. :-D

    1. Two points which like I like the most in this post is diet at home and food Packaging products. Our food item should be packed in proper manner. Quick weight loss requires self control and we need to control our diet.