Do you struggle to fit your rubbish into your bin? Do you find yourself trying to squeeze it all in before collection day? You can easily halve the amount of trash in there by applying one simple principal – plan ahead.
Planning doesn’t need to mean you lose spontaneity, if you get a buzz from shopping for dinner at the last minute having a plan won’t stop your fun. What planning will do is set you up to buy things that are less wasteful to start with and it will help you stop chucking out spoiled food too.
Plan to choose your packaging – reduce waste
Next time you go shopping check out the zero waste packaging options. Most shops, including the budget supermarkets sell a reasonable variety of goods wrapped in cardboard or paper. You won’t need to change your shopping habits that much, you can still buy the same type of things. To seriously reduce your waste, choose wrappers that can either go in the compost bin or be recycled. It is easier to recycle paper than plastic so bear that in mind when you look for alternatives. You don’t need to make this change all at once, if you swap for one paper packed product every time you go shopping you will be making an easy impact on your rubbish bin.
Plan to bring your own
All over the world we are getting use to taking our own reusable shopping bags. Extend that habit by one little bit and add a plastic container. With a little bit of extra planning you will be prepared for butchers, bakers and even pic n mix sweeties. If you can’t finish your meal in a restaurant you can take it home with you quickly and easily. Less waste for minimum fuss and maximum money saving!.
Plan your menus
I wince and recoil in horror at the thought of planning my meals for a whole week. I don’t want anyone to tell me what I’m going to eat and when, and that includes myself! To get over this I’ve an easy menu plan method that saves me a fortune in wasted food. My super simple method of planning leaves plenty of scope for creativity around meals and allows for last minute changes too. The secret to this amazing menu planning method? Decide on the source of protein for each meal and work from that. This works no matter what diet you are following, from paleo to vegan, just choose what protein sources you eat and plan around them. It can be vague so that you can take advantage of reduced items and special offers. My menu plan for this week looks like this: Monday: chickpeas, Tuesday: beans, Wednesday: tofu, Thursday pulses, Friday: nuts, Saturday; tahini (we are eating out on Sunday)….I shop for the protein source first, then I add seasonal vegetables and whatever carbs we fancy. This strategy works in combination with the next planning strategy which is…..
Plan to cook double portions
Double portions of Mondays chickpea curry means that one portion can be frozen for another time. Tuesdays bean stew can be eaten again for Wednesday lunch. Think in double every time you cook and you will have a freezer full of home cooked ready meals in no time. It is surprising what you can freeze easily. Cake freezes very well and freezing half of it means I don’t have to eat it all up before it goes stale. Homemade white sauce is a nuisance to make but double portions mean I can whip up a lasagna with no bother at all from the freezer. Cooking in bulk lets you take advantage of cheaper fresh seasonal food too.
It’s all in the planning
You don’t need to do this all at once. Try one little change next time you swap, if you like it, add another change. I’m confident that pretty soon your rubbish bin will be going hungry but your wallet will be fatter.
Written by Lisa Cole
Lisa runs www.less-stuff.co.uk which is the antidote to minimalism. She writes about easy ways to control clutter, save money and live lightly. If you find clutter overwhelming check out her book ‘The Elephants in the Room’ which will walk you through a very gentle decluttering process.