Keep Your Waste Stream Relatively Clean In 2014

Happy New Year, y’all! As we make a boatload of resolutions for the year ahead, let’s put wasting less food at or near the top of our lists.

Providing inspiration, the European Union has made noises about declaring 2014 the “European Year Against Food Waste.” At least the European Parliament urged the European Commission to designate it as such. While that hasn’t actually happened, the urging in itself provides some hope. And the EC has put together a useful site with some helpful tips and an inspiring video.

Whether or not it’s officially adopted in Europe, let’s individually declare 2014 our own year against food waste. That might take on different looks, but it doesn’t have to include grand changes.

Here’s a tiny example of waste avoidance to hopefully inspire you to trim your own food waste in the Year of the Horse:

I recently bought a bulk pack of oranges. It wasn’t possible to see all of the oranges in the package, and I was disappointed to find that two had soft spots (as pictured here):

Rather than compost the oranges, I thought of how I might still use them. As they say nobody says, when life gives you damaged oranges…slice away the soft part.

As you can, the remainder was perfectly good…and perfectly ready for a smoothie. Two minutes later, my kids and I were enjoying a healthy, drinkable, mid-morning treat. And all because I didn’t immediately give up on a few slightly imperfect oranges.

So next time you’re about to compost or–much worse–discard some food, stop for a moment. Consider if there might be another use for that item. If necessary, do a little research. And I’ll bet that more times than not, you’ll find an alternate use for something you’d considered useless.

Let’s make 2014 a wonderful, waste-free year!

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