Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Use it Up!

I am a member of a yahoo group that is a close knit community of women. Because we are of all different ages and backgrounds, we certainly do learn a lot from each other - while at the same time inspiring one another in exploring new things. This week a member issued a freezer and pantry challenge. This gist is this - see how far you can go without shopping for food/beverages, etc. Use up what you have on hand. This got me to thinking about all the things I currently have in my refrigerator - and once again I am guilty of too much food and things are spoiling.

We (my husband and I) decided it was high time we tried this. Now, since our parents usually send home dinner when we pick up our son, we don't cook dinner often. However, we do end up with lots of leftovers and we do buy things that need to be used all up, too. This week we are bound and determined to use up everything possible (not including what are sure to be science experiments in the back of the fridge) and I have decided that once a week will be leftover night. In order to ensure that things don't spoil from now on, we are putting the leftovers in the freezer (thanks Maisie for this idea!!) We can heat them up on the weekend and have a lazy man's smorgasboard.

With the use it up theme in mind, I'm also packing my lunch and snacks to work. Lately I've spent far too much money in the cafeteria - not to mention the fact that I've generated far too much waste by doing take out. I enquired about using my own take out containers so that I do not have to use styrofoam and they are amenable to me bringing in my own. Until I bring in a good size container for this purpose, I'm not buying lunch. I do use plastic cutlery as they don't want the silver removed, but I've been using the same set for quite some time and plan on doing so until they are no good - then I'll bring in something from home. And I was given an excellent travel mug for Christmas and I use that for my tea at work now to avoid the disposable stuff. I did forget it the other day and used a paper cup, but didn't take the plastic lid and I'm keeping the cup at my desk to get water for my plant.

Once again - nothing drastic, but baby steps in the right direction. I do a lot of things right - I take transit, I have a reusable mug at work, I recycle everything I can, I buy second hand - and much more. But there are so many things I could do better (i.e. drive less, waste less, spend money more wisely to support things that fit my values).

I continue to learn and for now - I'm working on that pantry/freezer challenge.

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