Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A rubbish week.

Well, it wasn't rubbish actually.  It wasn't even that bad.  We did better than we thought we might.  And scroll to the end for a chance to see how you can do....

Here's our Kitchen Canny bag. It looks empty (cunning camera angle) but it's actually about a quarter full.

Here's what we threw away (and estimated cost): 
About four pieces of toast, in small postage stamp sized pieces, thrown on the floor over a period of several days by M, recovered and put back on the table by me, then thrown on the floor (and repeat).  (50p)
Twenty-one (three girls times seven days) dregs of cereal bowls and milk (they didn't go into the bag) (£1).
Quite a lot of uneaten toad in the hole, mash, peas and broccoli.  (£1)

And this was just the stuff off the plates.  Turns out I overcater when cooking for four adults and seven children... 
At least eight half-drunk, cold, slightly greasy looking cups of tea.  (£2, or £16 if I'd bought them in a cafe)
The mouldy corners of a loaf of white bread. (£not very much)

And what we didn't:

A bag of potatoes that wasn't so much growing eyes, as legs, arms, hands and an inflected language.  I chopped them off and they went into the mash.
The rest of the toad in the hole.  My strange children like cold yorkshire pudding, it turns out. Their father likes cold sausages.
An unopened bag of chillis. I got them out of the fridge, where they've been sitting for a while (quite a long while), thought they looked mouldy and then put them on the side to be thrown away.  But when I went to actually do it, they looked fine. So either I'm going mad, or the chillis are un-rotting.  Odd either way.  Not sure we'll ever eat them though.
Some manky spring onions.  We made a delicious Jamie Oliver recipe with them and some left over roast chicken too.  Can't find the recipe online, sadly.
The unmouldy bits of bread.  We turned them into bread crumbs and they're in the freezer.

So not bad, really. So not bad, if I'm honest, that I can't get over the suspicion that we rather cheated.  Because it turns out it's terribly hard to do something you know you're not supposed to when you also know you're going to get caught out.  So I found myself, all week, thinking "Would I ordinarily be using this again? Or would I have thrown it away? Should it go in the bag? But it can't go in the bag, that's wasteful...."

But even then I'm amazed by how much it's all worth. If that's us, being good, and it tots up to a fiver, and we assume (optimistically) that that's what we throw away every week (even when we're not being good), that's £260 a year.  Much better than most, but still an awful lot of money to be, literally, chucking away.

They sell the Kitchen Canny kits. They're a tenner each.  I thought that was quite a lot, although I'm assured that all it does is to cover their costs.  But if you think that you've possibly recovered that in two weeks, you don't have to worry for too long about whether it's worth it.

So will we keep it up? I don't know. I hope so.  And I will be trying to remember the following top tips:

Drink the cups of tea I make for myself.
BBC online recipe finder - need a recipe for half an aubergine, a tin of tuna and the mouldy end of a bit of cambazola? It's probably on there...
Freeze everything.  Ideally in small bits.  The Jamie Oliver recipe wanted streaky bacon.  The rest of the packet went in the freezer, but anally split into little bags of four rashers each so that I don't have to defrost the whole lot and then end up throwing half of it away.
Feed my children less.  To be honest, most of what I threw away was because I'd cooked it for or served it to the children and they didn't eat or drink it. 
Never buy bean sprouts.  They come in huge bags, you only ever use half and when you come to use the rest about ten seconds later they're a stinking soggy mess.    And they don't taste of anything anyway.

What about yours?  Want to see how you can do? Leave your top tip for reducing your waste in the comments below and I'll ask someone lovely from Kitchen Canny to pick the best and they'll send you your very own Kitchen Canny kit.

Or you can just click this link to buy one.


  1. Why do bean sprouts go over so quickly. I tend to kkep a can of them in for pas thai noodle and not buy fresh these days.

    Cold yorkshire pudding is lovely with a bit of jam or chocolate spread. I never have mine with my dinner but always save it for cold afters :)

    Mouldy bread is my killer becuase we only eat a few slices a week but I refuse not to have any in, have you noticed the smaller a loaf you buy the more expensive it gets? So I buy a big one and let it rot :(

    My top receipe for half rotting veg is curry. You can curry up anything, anything at all :)

  2. Curried bean sprouts? Surely not...

    But loving Yorkshire pudding and chocolate spread (says the woman who's trying to get back in her wedding dres...)

  3. Gawd I feel awful every time I throw away a bag of mnaky salad. Determined to start growing our own. So not going to happen anytime soon...

  4. Don't you just hate mnaky salad?!

    1. Actually I do a very good mnaky salad and peach cocktail...

      Or not.

  5. I agree with the bean sprout theory, many things such as that come in large quantities and end up in the bin! I try to buy veg that can be used elsewhere as opposed to salad bowls only, this way what ever is left is either turned into soup or a pie! xx

    1. You are a better woman than me. And what do you do when you just fancy lettuce? I mean I know you *can* cook it, I'm just still not sure you should...


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