Friday Buffet

Not a fan of composting? You can always dig holes and bury food in them.
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Or, you can get a Green Cone, a food waste solution that’s not a composter, but you don’t have to stir. Really?

photo by Perfectly Good (via Flickr)— —

Winter in Florida means citrus donations. If they had that program in Chicago, this one might have been donated instead of thrown away.

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Someone with the online handle “Perfectly Good” added this photo to the Food Waste group over at Flickr. If you have photos of food being wasted or recovered, join the fun! And have fun perusing other discarded items in Perfectly Good’s set
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Finally, the cool kidsĀ at LeanPath got some nice British press. Their ValuWaste system is truly customisable!

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  1. Alana
    Posted December 5, 2008 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    In Arizona, citrus abounds. Towards the end of the season it kills me to see so many people just let their fruit fall and rot. I put a want on freecycle to go pick peoples tree for the fruit. I had several bites and we have fresh squeezed orange juice and lemonade for a few months. Unfortunately, the older areas have the most mature trees and the most mature residents that can’t pick them. I’ve found a lot of times neighbors are very willing to accept the help and don’t feel so bad if they can give the fruit in return.

  2. Jeff
    Posted December 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating work, and (I’m a little ashamed to admit) something I need to learn a lot more about and do much better with.

    Wasting food is insanely easy, and downright encouraged by stamped dates on packages and humongous portions in restaurants that “seem” to go bad when they lose their shiny restaurant glow the next day in your fridge.

    Do you have any recommendations for a resource where extreme food waste neophytes like myself can find out when a food item is considered bad?

    For example, I know you can cut mold off cheese, but I *believe* that when mold is found on bread, the entire contents of the package is considered bad.

    I know most stamped dates are bogus, but what does constitute good markers of eat/don’t eat for other foods?

    I’d love a definitive list of “when it’s bad” facts. If one doesn’t exist (to your liking anyway) it may be worth considering adding to your site.

  3. Posted December 6, 2008 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m intrigued by “The Green Cone.” I have had readers tell me about it, so I was happy to watch the video. It can take bones and pet waste, which is great.

    However, I’m already very good about composting so I don’t think it would be worth it. We have meat bone food waste only once a month or so, but I guess it’s more in my mind because of the turkey bones.

    Also, from an aesthetic standpoint, it’s a huge hunk of plastic which needs to be in full sun. My composter, (also a huge hunk of plastic) is able to be tucked away semi-out of sight.

    I currently have no pets, so the pet waste issue is moot for me.

    It would be a great option if someone was not already composting and if they had a dog or two and if they ate more boney meat than my family does. And if they had more full sun than I do.

    Whew. That’s a lot of “ifs.”

    -Katy Wolk-Stanley
    The Non-Consumer Advocate

  4. Posted December 7, 2008 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Chickens eat almost anything and their droppings are the very best fertilizer around, either composted or mixed with shavings from the henhouse litter. We originally got chickens because I couldn’t stand the thought of wasted food, and now we also have good clean meat and wonderful eggs. I donate extra eggs to a food bank, which gives me produce for my freezer and for the chickens. Wonderful circle. And you know, many people can have hens in the city, just not the noisy roosters.

  5. Posted December 6, 2008 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Alana, there are a number of groups around the country that do fruit tree recovery, if you’ve ever thought of starting a non-profit or just doing it ad-hoc. These folks are really friendly.

    Jeff, that’s an interesting idea, but a tall order. I don’t think such an all-inclusive document exists, because there are so many variables that influence how long an item will last. With perishables, that includes the time it went unrefrigerated from production to when it hit your fridge. Also, the temperature in your fridge/freezer can vary. How it’s stored, can also affect it’s health. Let me know if you find anything like this–I’d love to see it!

  6. Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Katy: Yeah, that’s a lot of ifs. Not much boney (or bologna) meat in my house, either.

    AJ: That does sound like a virtuous circle. I’m hoping the city of Durham, NC, where I live, will see the light on backyard chickens…They’re getting there.

  7. Posted December 8, 2008 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    We’re trying in the Chicago area to raise this issue one household at a time. People are upset about how expensive food has become here:,120708wastingfood.article

  8. Posted December 9, 2008 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Jeff–just how much of a neophyte are you? For truly new-to-grocery folks, a basic storage guide (like the one at might help; if you’re past needing to be told not to eat cottage cheese that’s gone rust-red, though, it gets harder. Any mold/slime on raw meat=bad, toss the whole. Ditto red mold on dairy. But beyond that, I’m with Jonathan: if you find an authoritative source, I want the info, too!

    small-batch composting for small spaces

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