Food waste faux pas and the next switch

Food waste faux pas and the next switch

As I poured three quarters of a tin of beans into the food waste caddy for the second time in under 6 months, there was a knot in my chest. Or was it in my throat? Or maybe it was both. I couldn’t pin point the emotion at first. It wasn’t anger. It was worse than that. Then I realised, it was a knot of disappointment and shame.

I debated whether to type those words. I’m genuinely embarrassed to have thrown out most of a tin of beans not once, but twice. It’s a despicable waste. It needs to not happen again.

How it came about

I don’t recall the exact circumstances of the first throw-away tin. In summary, my little boy would have had a tablespoon of beans with a meal one day, and wouldn’t have had them again for a few days. What I do recall from that first instance is being cross with myself.

The second time, there were unusual circumstances. I’ll go on to explain them in a moment, but I don’t want to make this post about excuses. I want to make this post about making sure it doesn’t happen again.

So on a Monday morning, I got a call from nursery. They were concerned that my little boy had an ear infection. The doctor’s surgery was great at getting me an appointment that afternoon, so I picked him up early to get him checked out. Fortunately, he didn’t have an ear infection and he was feeling more himself very quickly. Having been picked up early, I did need to find something suitable for him to eat that evening. Beans on toast is a classic go to dish, as it is easy, filling and he bloody loves baked beans.

Whilst it suited the situation perfectly, happening on a Monday meant that he wouldn’t be eating any meals at home for the next few days due to being at nursery. I had egg mayo made up for sandwiches that I didn’t want to go off, and my husband has a 1.5 hour commute so it’s not really practical for him to be schlepping a tub of beans up to work in the morning.

Our evening meals were planned in, and utilising the beans would have meant a fresh vegetable going off instead (or a highly irregular and unpalatable combination, taking account of the beans), so we just didn’t use them.

By the time an opportunity became available, they smelt highly suspect and had been open longer then they probably should have been.

The little (expensive!) tins

Much as it pains me, we now have in little tins for such occassions. They’re 25p for 200g at Sainsbury’s (compared to 30p for 400g) but I failed to use nearly 300g of the tins I wasted, so although they’re not great value, they are a better option when we’re preparing beans for a meal that our baby is eating without us. So this week, as simple as it sounds, this is our eco-switch.

Eco switch hints

If you’re looking to reduce waste, whether it be plastic, food, energy or something else, I’ve found the best place to look is at what I’m putting into the bin (whether it be normal waste, recycling or food waste). It’s definitely worth trying to pay attention at different points of the day to what you are throwing out, why you are throwing it out, and whether you can change something so that less needs to be disposed of in future.

Some of the things I share may be perfect for you, but chances are lots of them won’t. For the last 9 years that my husband and I lived together, we had no need for little tins of beans, but now we do. We all have different lives which present different opportunities for us to reduce our plastic usage, energy usage and carbon footprint.

Have you made any eco-switches recently? How do you find inspiration for what to cut back on or switch?

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