Wednesday, August 18, 2021

How Much Do We Waste?

 I try not to waste much of anything - but I do have trash go out for pick up each week.  Cat litter, maybe an occasional pop can, some newspapers (I need to recycle those again), just random odds and ends.  Much of it is limbs, sticks and poison yard waste (weeds) I don't want to put in compost bin.
Sometimes in the winter I can go 3 or more weeks without putting out trash.

We are a society of waste.  We live in a throw away society.  If something breaks - just replace it.  I just hate this.  I try to use everything and many things I use in a new way.
Here are a few ideas for everyone. (most you probably know)

  • Leftovers - either eat for lunch or at another meal or remake them into something new and different.  I know there are folks who 'don't like' leftovers - but if you jazz them up and hide them in a new dish - Wah-la!!  Add veggies to make soups, stews or casseroles.  Freeze for another day.  Mix veggies in with eggs for omelets or quiche.  Add to pizza.  The list goes on and on.
  • Shells and peels can be added to compost.  You can actually crush egg shells and add directly to the garden and cut up banana peels for around roses.  Citrus peels can be made into cleaners,  Peels from apples and cling fruit or pears can be cooked down and made in jelly.  You can add peels and cores to vinegar to make a flavored vinegar for dressings.   Don't forget to dehydrate those tomato peels when you are canning.  Grind - and they make great flavor enhancer.  No need to waste a thing!!!
  • Leftover meat can be used in stir fry or fried rice.  Add to soups.  Add to eggs for great scrambled or omelets.  Meat bones can be added to a big pot of water and boiled down for homemade stock.  Use the bones and any trimmings for extra rich flavor.  You could even throw in the trimming from veggies as well.  You can freeze in baggies (sealed tight) and lay flat to freeze or in jars - but leave a good 2"+ head space for freezing expansion.
  • Bread - can be turned into croutons, bread crumbs, dressing bread, bread puddings, French toast, etc..  Freeze French bread and make pizza out of the halves.  If you get down to bread that is starting to go bad - break off any mold!!!!! - and then throw out balance to birds.  Never give them moldy bread.
  • If you go out to eat - take your own containers with you.  I know that sounds strange - but why bring your leftovers home in something that will never, ever break down (Styrofoam).  OR if you know the servings are big - split the order with someone else.
  • Clean out your refrigerator every week and use up what needs using.  Make something with all the leftovers or with veggies or fruit that is on it's last leg.  Use it up!  That was money at one point!!!!  Would you just throw dollar bills out in the trash?  Doubt it!  You either eat it, remake it, or freeze it.  You can also declare a "find what you can" night.  Just make sure it gets used.
  • Veggies that have been cooked or steamed  in water (without salt) or water from boiling eggs - can be cooled and poured on plants to water them.  There are lots of vitamins in that water.

  • Paper products - if at all possible quite using much.  I know most will always use TP - although there are alternatives.  Wash cloth, bidet, washable cloths, etc.  Not sure how many are open to some of those.  I do have a huge supply of wet wipes for emergencies (never flush).  Paper towels are so wasteful.  I usually keep a few rolls around - only to clean up cat yack!  I use old rags or wash cloths for everything else.  I need to start donating my newspaper again to the animal shelter - they are always in need.  They can also be used to make crafts like paper mache' or for wrapping gifts.  I love the funnies for kids.  You can also turn newspaper into starter pots for plants or you can use your TP rolls for the same.  We can get real creative if we just thing about it!!!!!

  • If you use bar soaps - keep the slivers and sew them in an old wash cloth - great for cleaning garden hands.  Or make a slit in a nice sponge and insert chips for cleaning messy hands.  They can be melted down and used a a liquid soap
  • Scraps of material - make a scrappy quilt or leg throw.  Keep buttons and zippers off old clothes that are becoming rags
  • Over ripe fruit - bananas getting dark or bruised peaches or apples, etc.  Use in smoothies, or use in a milkshake or malt or make your own flavored ice cream or ice milk.  Make apple sauce or peach sauce or pear sauce.  It doesn't matter if it is bruised.
  • Old cards you have received.  Cut the fronts off and use as postcards or use for making shopping lists - I ALWAYS have someone at the store comment about my shopping list as it is most often from  Christmas card.  Use the fronts to make your own cards.  Glue or double sticky tape them to card stock and use your own phrase or writings inside.
  • If you have old towels, blankets or sheets that you just aren't willing to re-invent into something else for yourself - DONATE to animal shelters
  • Old magazines can go to doctors offices, car mechanics, oil change place, or nursing homes for crafts.  Check with pre-schools as well.
  • If water is an issue in your area - keep a bucket in your shower and catch the run off.  Use to water the garden or flowers or even flush the toilet.  You can use dish water - scoop with a pan - to water plants as well.  I always pour my scalding (w/vinegar) canning water in the fence row or in cracks in drive where weeds grow.
  • If you drink soda pop at your house and have some  that goes flat - use it in Jello.  It will add extra flavor.  Old coffee or tea or leftover wine (LOL) - freeze in cubes.
  • Have knick-knacks you don't want or can't use - GIFT them to family (if heirlooms) or donate
Just a FEW ideas!!  LOL!!

The old adage - waste not -- want not - is so very true.  Try to find uses for everything.  The things you bring into your houses, the things you flush or that goes down the drain -- COST MONEY!
We would never throw dollar bills in the trash or flush them down the toilet - but yet we do it ever day - just in a different form.
Save what you can and where you can.
Not only does it help you - but our environment as well.

GET CREATIVE


40 comments:

  1. When I see waste, I ask if people regularly flush $100 bills down the toilet. It's a visual that speaks as most of us do not carry Ben Franklin in our wallets!

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    1. It sure is! I just don't understand wasting the things you spend that money on - to me there is no difference.

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  2. As a single-person household, one of my biggest wastes was food with freezer burn. To help eliminate this I bought a FoodSaver. Yes, the initial outlay was somewhat costly. But it was on sale and I had Kohls Cash that needed to be used. The savings has been tremendous. I can buy family packs of meats at a discount, large bags of frozen vegetables when they're on sale, along with other produce, and I re-package in vacuum packed sizes that fit my needs. And, now the foods in my freezer keep for much longer with no freezer burn. I buy the bags in bulk on Amazon and they are much cheaper.

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    1. YES, YES, YES! It makes such a difference to vacuum seal food. Like you I want to get those family deals - so I vacuum seal everything. I got my sealer after Christmas several years ago and it was tremendously marked down - I have enough bags to last for years (bought a long time ago online). I think WM sales Food Saver bags as well.

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  3. Frugality and eliminating waste drives my weekly menu. There are weekly "find what you can" nights that are dubbed fridge fall-out or jungle lunch nights. Using the boiling canning water for weed control is a great idea. I once heard of the 5 R's - refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot. My young niece stayed with me for a number of months and I knew she didn't like leftovers. I threw a $20 bill in the garbage and told her that's what we're doing if we throw food away so in this house we eat leftovers, but usually only twice around the kitchen without them being repurposed.

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    1. Like the find what you can night.
      Good lesson. Some things I don't mind for many days - but usually after2 days - the remainder goes in freezer for another time or I re-invent.
      No need too throw away good food, things or money!

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  4. I don't respond often but, I love, love, live your blog. I was frugal before frugal became popular. Our choice for me was to be at home being mom or working and hubby working at something he was good at for a lower pay or the stress of working at a job he would be worrying about all the time. We chose me being home and hubbys job. For us, it sure was the right choice. We raised the kids then I got my Associates degree from our community college the same year as my son and then worked part time jobs. I love the choices we made. I read your blog with a smile and say, yes, yes! We are old (yep, old) and have savings enough to go out to eat if we want, buy an occasional luxury, have a nice (not new) home and car. If only young couples would take your advice. Have you seen Frugal after Fifty on You Tube. Enjoy them very much.

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    1. You made wonderful choices and it all worked for you! That is what matters. I have always heard if your do something you love - you never work a day in your life!
      It sounds like you did quite well and have much to be proud of.
      Nothing wrong with eating out once in a while - like you said, it is a luxury here as well.
      Old is all a matter of perspective. I used to think 60 was old - then I got there. 70 sounds pretty young too! My brother is 80 and my sister is 90 and both act much younger than they are.
      I will check out that You Tube. Thanks!
      Thank you for your kind words. Glad you are here.

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    2. Thanks for the suggestion of checking out that youtube channel.... I've done that today and it looks really interesting!!!!

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  5. Another good post! I have "resurrected" something I did for years...not sure why I quit doing it. But, I have a container in my kitchen freezer that is marked "soup starter"...and in it goes all the supper leftover bits and pieces of meats/potatoes/other veggies and liquids from cooking veggies. When that is full, a soup or stew is made!

    Also, plan to check out that Frugal after Fifty. Thanks, Grammy D!

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    1. Good for you - it sure makes for a tasty soup. Nothing wasted and soup is always different! You could even blend up the veggies and broth and make a 'cream off' type soup!

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  6. One day, Tommy was in the kitchen when I needed vegetables from the refrigerator. I cannot bend so far, so he was getting out whatever I had. I was trimming things and washing and chopping and putting it all in the crock pot. A bit later, he exclaimed, "And, we have soup and cleaned out the refrigerator, too!"

    I don't have a cat or dog, but both leave presents in the yard that I step in. I keep rags that I can throw away and use those for cleaning cat presents from my shoes instead of using paper towels.

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    1. YAY - Tommy gets it too!!!!! Love it when it all falls together like that.
      Oh man, sorry they leave you 'presents!'. Good idea though. Sometimes my newspaper comes in long baggies and I keep them and that is what I clean up after the outside kitties with. They usually go in very defined areas for some reason - and I can clean and toss.

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  7. We stopped paying for garbage pick up because we have so little. We compost and the rest gets carried to the landfill every two weeks and it is just a 20 gallon can after sorting out recycling.

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    1. Oh I wish we had that option - it is automatically figured in with water, sewer bill. No way out of it.
      That is neat you can do that.

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  8. Another great blog post, Cheryl. The freezer is definitely our friend. Helps us keep food longer and save money at the same time. I’m going to check out the Frugal after Fifty YouTube channel too.

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    1. I think Grammy had a great tip - sounds like many will look at that channel.
      Our freezer is for sure our friend. Keeps things so much longer!

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  9. I keep all old blankets, towels and sheets, I use them for pups. Old sheets are great for lining the trunk when I go to the nursery for soil, plants or firewood. Just shake them out when you are done, wash and reuse for next time. Newspapers are great to use for cleaning mirrors and glass top tables. Just use favorite cleaner for streak proof shine. I am fixing to make my first batch of homemade laundry soap. You have taught me so much. Reading your blog gives people a calming effect that it is easy to make changes that really make a difference in all areas of everyday life!

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    1. Good ideas. Great idea for lining the trunk with old sheets. I keep forgetting about using newspaper for cleaning windows. I have done that many times - just forget a lot.
      Hope you like the detergent.
      Thanks you! It is nice to know we can bend when we have to. We can adjust to anything!!

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  10. Another great post. It's good to remind people that small efforts reap big rewards for us and for the planet. In our household we put out one bag of garbage every 6 months and it is usually not full. If you looked at what's there you'd find bottle caps, toothpaste and deodorant containers, maybe a pair of worn out shoes. We have four designated bins for waste: compostable, burnable, recyclable and garbage. Have you seen the video about the environmental damage in Africa from donated clothing? It is easy to justify shopping for new stuff when you donate your old stuff to a charity but then it's someone else's problem. Stop buying, people! Wear out what you own.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB3kuuBPVys&ab_channel=ABCNewsIn-depth. Thanks, Cheryl.

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    1. I have seen that video - it is pretty amazing. We waste so much.
      You are doing fantastic! Such determination. I love it.
      You are so right - we just need to stop. We have too much now and just don't appreciate it. It is really sad.
      Thank you!!!!!

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  11. I'm pretty good about not wasting food - my one area of weakness is salad greens - being on my own means that I can't always get it all eaten before it goes slimy.

    However, my building does have composting bins - as well as garbage and recycling so that helps.

    I've been cutting back more and more on PT - I cut up old sheets etc. for rags - and I have purchased a number of "bar towels" and small white towels from IKEA that I can bleach and then throw in the washing machine and so use them in place of paper towels.

    I go through my freezer every couple of weeks and have plans for more batch cooking in the Fall which will use up food in a more timely manner and save me time over all. I only have an apt, sized fridge (about 5' high and 28" wide) and my only freezer is the section in this fridge so it does take a bit of juggling.

    I am careful with my hydro use as I do pay for that separately and only have a window AC unit in the bedroom during the Summer and rely on fans in the living area.

    I look after my clothes and keep them in good shape. I will go into the office only 3 days per week now and WFH the other hours (I work 25 hrs. per week and when can vary from week to week). That means I can make do with one pair of pants and just a couple of tops each week and stick to casual clothes the rest of the time. I'd love to replace my Winter parka (it's a bit ugly) but it is still in good shape so it will do another year. I need to lose some pandemic weight and who knows what the stores will have in stock anyway! I don't look on shopping as a recreational activity but rather something to be approached with a plan a couple of times per year. The only items I really Need for Fall/Winter are some new socks and a couple of white shirts/tunics.

    My furniture I've had for ages - but again, I look after my things. In the next couple of years I would like a new couch and a new mattress but I will have to save up for those things first. I had planned on some new bookcases from IKEA but there's been nothing in stock for months now so I have figured out a way around the problem and can wait for another few months.
    Keep all the great ideas coming please!

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    1. How wonderful that your community offers compost binds and recycling. That is pretty cool.
      Taking care of things is the trick. I only have a couple of NICE things for dressing up and they are very basic - so they go with other basics. I gave most of my office clothes to a women's shelter after I retired. I am a jeans and t-shirt person and I repair those jeans often!

      I hope you get your furniture that you want. I guess maybe waiting can be good - as we figure something else out!
      You are doing great.

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  12. Cheryl, I could not find "Frugal After Fifty." I did see one called, "Frugal Over Fifty." Do you think that is what she meant?

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  13. A food saver system is the bomb! A bit of an initial outlay but it sure seals packages securely from freezer burn. We may get some mylar bags to store rice, etc. I read on a blog (or it could have been on YouTube) that they use Tractor Supply five gallon buckets because they are food safe. Gotta protect your stash from rodents and creepy crawlies. Most of the time I pour the boiling water from veg down the drain as it is beneficial for the drain. I need to start saving some of it to water houseplants. We have two large compost bins and it is great for amending the soil. It's amazing how quickly the scraps accumulate.

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    1. Yes a food saver is well worth the price. It sure saves food.
      That hot water IS good for drains as it really helps clean them. Good idea.
      Scraps do accumulate quickly.

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    2. That veg water is called vegetable stock and is a nutritious addition to soups. I sometimes freeze it if I have too much. Potato water is excellent in bread making too. Resealable bags that hold oatmeal, craisins, etc make good packaging for freezer food if one does not have a vacuum sealer. I double bag for the freezer and haven't had freezer burn problems.

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    3. Veggie stock is great for soup. I forgot about potato water for bread making - thanks for that reminder. I have doubled wrapped as well. You can get the air out pretty darn well. Love hearing other alternatives!

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  14. I am getting much better at this. When both of us worked it was very easy to use up leftovers for lunches, now I need to be more aware of what is in my fridge, freezer and pantries.

    Love my food saver!! I have very little freezer burn now which is great.

    God bless.

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    1. I know what you mean. When Glen was here - he always ate leftovers for lunch or even breakfast. Now I eat one main meal a day - so have to have to be more creative.
      Food savers are the bomb.
      Have a blessed day

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  15. Dear Cheryl and Friends, yep,am also glad that the garbage truck only has to stop every 2nd or 3rd week. Better for the planet - and better for my wallet.

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    1. Sounds like you are doing great. The less we waste - the more our planet loves it and our wallets!

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  16. I still use bar soap and I like the suggestion for using slivers.

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  17. Many people say they don't have time to implement various money-saving (and conservation-minded) strategies yet spend hours each day wasting time. Relaxing in front of the TV after a hard day is fine, don't get me wrong. We found, however, that we got a lot more done when we quit watching TV altogether. We read and learn new things and talk to each other. Our relationship is much stronger without the intrusion of TV. I have a lot more time for gardening, sewing, exercise, and other more productive activities. It's about priorities. We get only so many days in our lives. It's how we use them that counts.

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    1. AMEN sister. Technology can rob us (and does) of actual experiences. We need to be more engaged with real LIFE than computers and TV and such. Life has so much to offer - we have so much to learn and experience.

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  18. Love all these suggestions. I do many, others I need to at least try.
    Another excellent You Tube channel is Frugal Money Saver. They keep it real and down to earth.

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    1. Thanks. I have seen that channel as well. Good one.

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