We all go through that moment. We open the fridge and something terrible looking catches our eye. Its a food item we had forgotten we have. Sometimes it’s left overs from a couple of days back. Sometimes it’s something in a jar that was just pushed to the back and forgotten for a long time.
Last time I threw away a gallon of milk, it got me thinking. Is there something I can do to stop this wastage of food and money?
What began as a simple thought quickly turned into sort of experiment. I started marking down the times when I threw away food. Every time I picked up edible-gone-wrong and threw it in garbage, I marked an X on the calendar.
Within a month, there were 11 times I had thrown something away, almost once every three days. And this much wastage for a person like me who does not cook regularly at home. I was wasting almost 20% of the food I bought.
To reduce this wastage of money and food, I came up with a system. One day I made a list of all the food items I had and marked down their expiration dates. For the foods I did not know expiration dates, like things I cooked, I took a general guess, say two days. Then I stuck this list on refrigerator using a magnet.
Every time I wanted to eat something, I referred to this list and tried to eat the item that were going to expire first. Originally I had thought that if I would always eat whatever I am in mood to eat and eating according to expiration date will not be enjoyable. I was wrong. If the warning that the food will go bad was right there in front of my eyes, it took no effort to enjoy that food. The satisfaction of saving food and money was immense.
At the end of second month, there were only three items I had thrown away. Serious improvement from the first month. Food wastage came down from 20% per month to 5% per month, a whopping 15% saving. I saved good 25-30 $ in food cost that month . If I could save this much money per month, it would be 400$ saving per year. This is saving for single person consumption. For a family, this could be easily double.
Add to this the indirect savings that result from reduced grocery trips. Add to this the environmental benefits of saved energy and saved resources. It’s not win-win situation. It’s a win-win-win situation.