Reducing waste in 2018: make do and mend

Christmas is over, the fridge is full of cold turkey  and leftover nut roast …. I am sure you are the same (well, maybe not the nut roast!). Because most of us have plans for our Christmas leftovers and don’t like wasting food, this is the ideal time to rethink our approach to reducing waste during 2018.

Reducing wasteReducing waste with small repairs

I was sent some Sugru mouldable glue recently to try. This seems like the perfect thing when you are trying a make do and mend approach. Rather than throwing broken things away, I will use this for small repairs.

Reducing wasteThe cat somehow managed to throw the laundry basket down the stairs the other day and has cracked the corner. Each time it is used the crack is getting bigger. Rather than throw it out, I have used the Sugru to patch it up.

It isn’t as good as new and doesn’t look pretty, but hopefully will last a little longer.

Reducing waste by using the turkey carcass

Reducing wasteI have already turned the turkey bones into stock. This will be used to make soup with some of the leftover turkey and veg.

Any remaining turkey will be packaged up and put in the freezer. I have also sliced up the nut roast and frozen it. The freezer is an excellent tool to reduce waste!

I have a jar of Aldi curry sauce in the cupboard. No doubt some of the turkey will end up as a quick curry for Mr S and the girls, if they are about.

We have a lot of cheese. Fortunately this lasts a long time but I have a cheese soufflé in mind for later in the week. Cheese freezes very well too, but because we all love it I think it will get used up.

I read somewhere that salad leaves are the most thrown away food item. I have done this myself at times. It is annoying, but there isn’t much you can do with salad, except eat it before it goes brown. But is this true? I reckon I could throw any leftover lettuce and cucumber in the soup and no one would be any the wiser!

Buying less

The best way of reducing waste is not to buy too much in the first place. I don’t feel we have gone overboard this Christmas. We have a lot of food in the house but there are five of us here at the moment so hopefully we can use it all up. However, my daughter turned up with a pack of continental meats – chorizo, salami, etc. yesterday. As I am no longer eating meat and no one likes this that much I am contemplating what to do with it. I think some kind of pasta dish. I can do a meatless version for me fairly easily. Any ideas anyone?

No spend month

As January will be a no spend month for me, I will naturally be buying less of everything. Those of you who spend too much and have too much stuff might like to join me. Many of us have so much of everything and could easily do a month buying nothing except essentials. It’s great for replenishing your bank account!

I am probably going to need to make an exception for DIY stuff, however, since we plan to start the renovation of the sitting room. But we will be making the best of the furniture we have rather than buying new, much as I would love a brand new shiny sofa. We did consider buying one in the sales but have decided to save up for one rather than putting it on the credit card. It doesn’t seem the best start to a new year where I want to spend less, save more and focus on reducing waste generally.

Are you looking at reducing waste in 2018? There are some great ideas over at Jen Gale’s blog My Make Do and Mend Life. She took a break from it but is back! Very happy about this. What about you? Do you enjoy a make do and mend approach?

17 thoughts on “Reducing waste in 2018: make do and mend

  1. I don’t know about you, Jane, but whenever I’ve frozen cheese (not a waxy cheese, but a good quality cheese such as Wookey Hole Cheddar) it has always been very crumbly when defrosted and therefore difficult to grate if, indeed, grating is required. Has anyone else found that cheese once defrosted is difficult to use in this way?
    Hope you had a good Christmas, look I forward to all your money-saving tips in 2018.
    Personally, I find the best way not to waste money is not to go out to the shops unless absolutely necessary.
    Happy New Year to you and your family, Jane.
    Margaret P

  2. I grate my cheese before freezing it and then just take out the amount I need for sandwiches, cooking etc. I will also be joining you on a no spend month Jane. Thank you for the inspiration. I get so many great ideas from reading your blog.

  3. I don’t throw away unused salad leaves. Pot of boiling water, throw the salad leaves etc into the water, boil for a couple of minutes until everything is wilted, leave to cool, blitz and freeze – soup stock! All the goodness from the leaves, shredded carrot whatever, gives good flavouring to the soup. Or throw it into the curry, chilli you’re making, that works too.

  4. Totally agree with avoiding the shops if one wants to save money!! I really only go anywhere retail if I need to and then always with a list of what I want from each place – even Primark!!

    Besides hosting Christmas with my immediate family, I also host New Years Eve with them too, so a lot of the leftovers get used up that way. Not the leftover turkey and sprouts, obviously (DH & I usually eat up those leftovers on Boxing Day for lunch), but the half of frozen Indian Platter I didn’t cook before etc. The dips and coleslaw type items are usually still perfectly fine then too, so while I#ll head out to the shops for my usually weekly shop on Friday, it’ll probably only contain an extra item or two that proved popular and is all gone.
    As long as there are a variety of chicken nibbles my boys will be happy! It’ll be me ploughing my way through ever browning salad this week!

  5. I’m thunking through modified version of no spend like no clothing items for me, no coffee pods, etc. Reducung in a couple areas makes sense for me as goals.

  6. Re: your pack of sliced meats – on a pizza, chopped into a pasta dish, chorizo is good with chicken (in a tomato/ pepper/ onion/ courgette ‘soupy’ base and served with rice) Worst case scenario freeze it in little packs of a few slices to use up over the next few months 🙂

    We rarely freeze cheese (I have 3 cheese monsters (DS1, DS2, DS3)) but have always found it to be crumbly when I have done so, so then I use it in cooking. Oh – forgot – I used to regularly freeze mozzarella and use it on pizza/ in pasta bake 🙂

    We are planning a low spend first quarter of the year – excluding our new kitchen – for which I believe 95% of the money is in savings and the remainder we will find in the next couple of months 🙂 x

  7. I’ll probably be joining you on a no spend January. Although that means spending all my hundreds and thousands of £s that I have spare in the next 4 days!!!

  8. Hi Jane

    I never used to eat chorizo – cold that is, as I think it’s yukky however, I now use it in a recipe where it is cooked , which we love and is almost like a takeaway.

    I boil enough rice for the two of us and then put it in the fridge (I think being left cold for a bit dries out the starch and it cooks well and can be left overnight). When I’m ready, in a large frying pan I pour some oil and then throw in chopped up chorizo into small pieces. When chorizo looks like it is changing texture (bit like when bacon is cooked) I throw in some prawns (I use frozen ones from Iceland) and stir round pan (if you don’t eat prawns, I’m sure recipe will be okay). When prawns start to take on chorizo colour, thrown in chopped spring onions and some baby plum/ cherry to mates that have been cut in half. Then add rice and mix together. The rice will turn pink. As the mixture starts to feel as though it is getting crusty in the pan, that is when to serve. Yum yum in my tum!

    As Mrs G says, freeze it and use as you wish. Chorizo when cooked is like smoky bacon….. I know not ideal for you but this could be a way to use it up.


    • Just a thought: is it safe to cook rice, then allow it to chill in the fridge, then re-heat and even then to freeze it? I don’t know, I’m not assuming it is unsafe like this, I’m just wondering as I know rice is one foodstuff we have to take care with, and I’m not sure about re-heating it. Having said all that, the recipe sounds lovely, something I would like.
      Margaret P

      • Hi

        I allow the rice to cool in the kitchen in a colander. When it is completely cold, I then transfer it to the fridge until I need to cook it. I got the recipe from a magazine and I’m sure they wouldn’t have recommended putting in the fridge when cool and then cooking it, if they thought there was a chance of tick tummies. I think the problem could arise if you were to put the rice in the fridge without cooling as no food should go in there warm. I’very been making this once a month for over 2 years, I also have one of the most sensitive tummies known to man (IBS for over 20 years and getting more sensitive) but am always fine with this recipe.

        In terms of freezing, I have never frozen this recipe. I do however freeze chorizo and just use as and when I need to which is what Mrs G suggested doing. Sorry Margaret if you were thinking I was freezing the meal……It doesn’t stay in the pan long enough to see the inside of a freezer

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