Christina Wong took part in Recycle for London’s ‘£ood Waste Challenge’. Here she tells us how she got on…
I grew up in a family where you couldn't leave the dinner table without finishing your bowl and you made lists so you only bought what you needed. With a grocer for a Dad, I learned how to pick fruit and vegetables and most importantly, to always buy in season.
I try to limit my grocery shopping to every two weeks, buying only staple pantry items at the supermarket, whilst getting my fruits, vegetables and certain grains at the market stalls along Brick Lane or Berwick Street in Chinatown when I needed them. I always thought that I didn't throw away a lot of food, but I was wrong!
I signed up for the '£ood Waste Challenge' to see if I could reduce my food waste even further. My final weigh in for week one wasn't too bad (just under 600g), but it forced me to look at what I was throwing out and why. Most of my waste was fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags – none of which could be reused. But even in week one, I learned that instead of throwing them away, coffee grounds are great in the garden.
I also realised that I wouldn't have had to throw away so much fruit and veg if I'd used them sooner, didn't buy so many or if I stored them properly. Other folks doing the challenge pointed out that most of the food items could be stored in the freezer to use in the future. I normally don’t freeze items right away because I assume I’ll use them. But now, if I plan my meals more carefully I don’t waste as much, which is something I didn't do before.
Week two was much more challenging; I had to make meals from my leftovers and/or what was already in the cupboard. I decided to make congee (Chinese rice porridge). It allowed me to use some bok choy that was beginning to wilt. Congee can be laborious to make, but it can last for almost a week and can be stored in the freezer too.
After doing the challenge, I know I’ll be putting even more thought into what I buy, how it can be used or how it can be stored and I hope to encourage others to do the same. I hate to see food (and money) go to waste.