Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Use It Up Challenge! from Change The World Wednesday

This week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge:
This week, join Mrs. Green's Use It Up challenge by going through your cupboards, freezer, refrigerator, etc. and using what you find rather than buying anything new. The idea, here, is to use what you have on hand, hopefully before it's gone "bad", and eliminate waste. Of course ... we want to hear all about your efforts.
This is truly an awesome challenge! It is
  • Something anyone CAN do
  • Something anyone SHOULD do
  • Economical (...saves me money!)
  • Green (...helps save our planet for our next generation)
  • Fun!

Now in the past, I've looked at these challenges, and posted only after I'd either done something to meet them, or remembered something I'd already done, and then wrote about it. The problem with this system is that, more often than not, a week would go by and I hadn't written anything. I need some system for cuing up the action!
This week, I'll try a different method. Here is our pantry today:
Pantry June 6, 2012

And here is our freezer/fridge:
Fridge, June 6, 2012

See how much good chow we have in there? Too often, it grows old and joins the compost heap. For this Challenge, I will try to take their picture every day for the next week and see if this helps me use stuff up instead of buying. Do I want to publicly embarrass myself by posting pictures of things getting worse instead of better? No sir!
Am I using social pressure to help me meet the challenge? Yes, yes I am!
We all have our weaknesses; the trick is to use our weaknesses to make us strong ;-)
Actions taken today to live off our fridge:
  • Pass on frozen orange juice (purchased for a party punch that turned out not to need it) to Mother-In-Law, who drinks the stuff regularly
  • Emptied last night's two container of leftover lasagna and salad - it was late brekfast
  • Add two leftover containers from tonight's dinner - so the leftovers situation is sorta steady
  • Finished off a nearly empty bottle of wine
  • Made Use-It-Up Marinade from bottles and jars of stuff usually left in the fridge door for years untl thoroughly dried out..
As a result, our fridge now looks like this - not huge change, but change in the right direction:
Fridge Thursday June 7, 2012
Friday June 8, 2012
Today we cleaned out the veggie crisper and made a Use-It-Up Salad. This really did draw together some foods in danger of being wasted, but the net impact on the fridge may be hard to see, since our salad bowl is large enough to take up the space otherwise saved by the used-up items in the body of the fridge (e.g. blue cheese). However I think we can see noticeable empty space in the crispers (at the bottom).
the freezer actually lost a little ground, since I brought my wife one of her favorites, a salted caramel ice cream shake from Full Tilt. This set me back in my fridge reform, but put me ahead in other ways that are important strategically ;-)
Cleaning out the crisper, I was struck again with how often the plastic bags used for purchasing veggies become, in the fridge, a source of moisture and then rot. I think it's better to remove them from the plastic when they go into the fridge; what is your experience?

Freezer/Fridge June 9, 2012
Most of the day I was working, and when I looked at the fridge this evening, I was reminded of a key fact in any project using a shared resource: you have to work with the other people involved!
There are some new items in the photo, and an important learning is that previous use-it-up efforts made it easier to accommodate news demands on the fridge. AND we did use up a couple of things in there
The result we may call Cooperative Fridging: Key to a Use-It-Up week.


Unknown said...

What fun ... I'm going to enjoy watching your progress ... and I love your proactive approach! It's actually kind of a fun game to see how long one can go without shopping and how many creative dishes can be served with just what's on hand.

mrs green @myzerowaste said...

I'm super excited to see your progress throughout the week; what a genius idea to take photos as you go along. Good luck, happy eating and hope you save lots of money!