Sicilian vegetable pan, prepared with aubergines, tomatoes, celery and onions: That was what I had for dinner yesterday! Two years ago I would not have eaten such a dish if someone had told me that the entire vegetable came „from the garbage“. Containering transforms. How? You will find out in this and the previous article. I’ll get right back to last week’s top 10.
Picure 1: Most local vegetables are in good hands in the cellar. Take care of a dark, cool environment. Tomatoes, on the other hand, feel more comfortable in a flat bowl in the room
5. Store vegetables, fruit and bread correctly
In earlier times, my tomatoes used to be in the fridge and the bread was in the baker’s plastic or paper bags. But I found out that food can be stored longer if it is stored properly. When I rescued a huge load of tomatoes from the container, they wouldn’t have fit in the refrigerator. So I was happy to find out that it is best to store vegetables and fruit at the temperature at which they have grown! The freezer also offers a good option for storing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.
I used to buy frozen vegetables, now I create my own varieties. And if only two years ago I had known what you can do with frozen bananas…
Bread also looks much better in the bread box and does not mold.
6. Plastic packaging causes food waste!
Picture: Vegetables packed in plastic. Who in the world came up with the idea of wrapping two eggplants in plastic? (see picture below)
I have always bought my fruit and vegetables without plastic bags because of a certain disgust for these thin-walled bags from the fruit and vegetable counter in the Supermarket.
When I go containering and upload photos on Instagram or on my blog, I only show well-cleaned, unpacked food on the photos. But especially organic vegetables in the bin are usually on a cardboard bowl, wrapped in plastic. And I find backery always in the supermarket in this „functional“ paper-plastic composite packaging (which, I think, most people do not separate for recycling).
Because I don’t want to take all this garbage home with me, I separate the garbage on site. The unpacked fruits and vegetables are put in the bike basket and when I need bread and bakery products, I unpack them and put them in a biscuit tin or in a separate cloth bag that I brought with me.
But why does plastic packaging cause food waste then? When I find a plastic bowl with strawberries and remove the foil, usually only one strawberry is mouldy or rotten. The others are in perfect condition. But because the supermarket only sells the strawberries in plastic bowls, the employee cannot/will/may not sort out the single rotten strawberry and the whole 500 g plastic bowl full of strawberries from Spain ends up in the organic bin. I have experienced the same with packed raspberries, blackberries, peppers, tomatoes, fennel, avocado,…..
Fruit and vegetables spoil more quickly when packed in plastic. Water droplets are deposited on the inside, then air, warmth and bacteria contribute to rotten fruits.
Besides, I don’t always want to buy what the manufacturer tells me to. Usually you only need a certain amount of vegetables, but not exactly as much as is in a packaged unit. Especially people living alone have their problems with the packed, often too large quantities and so more ends up in the garbage through packaging even in private households, simply because people have no possibility to buy less!
The insight that packaging leads to more food waste, especially with vegetables and fruit, motivates me even more to implement Zero Waste and to buy packaging-free!
=> go Zero Waste! It saves Food from going to waste 🙂
7. Respect for the history of my Food
How far did a potato go before it ended up in the supermarket and finally in the garbage can? It is not easy to understand, but even if it was a „regional“ potato „from Austria“, it went through many hands that worked hard; but certainly not with the aim to make let potato end up in the waste bin!
It becomes even more striking when you look at the value chain of a banana, a sandwich or a caramel-cheesecake brownies.
The FAO found in 2013 that on average 1/3 of all food is lost along the entire value chain: Every serious economist ought to run away from these figures crying! The „production of waste“ makes no sense, no matter whether you see it from an ecological or economic point of view. An unimaginable amount of money, labour, water, electricity and nutrients is lost because our world keeps producing waste & Food waste.
=> Therefore my aim is not to throw away any edible Food and to also use up everything I find in the container. Because whether given or bought, I have taken responsibility for my food. And it simply deserves it that we enjoy it!
8. Every day a surprise!
Before I open the container, I am curious every time: I never know what to expect. Will I find bananas again today? Or eggplants? And when will yams be back?
So I don’t have a fixed menu, but build into my dishes what I found the day before. Sometimes I don’t know how to prepare certain vegetables. Then a short internet search or browsing through cooking magazines or grandma’s cookbooks will help. I have already found a new, tasty waste cooking recipe. The best of them I share here with you every month!
My menu has become more varied by containerizing. Because I don’t necessarily find what I would buy. I like the versatility and spontaneity that containerisation brings. So I’m always looking forward to my little surprise in the evening!
9. Save money!
This is one of the nice side effects of the container: I buy less fruit and almost no vegetables (except for salad and mushroioms) at all. This is worth it: an average container yield is worth approx. 30€! I have only done this one calculation example and therefore cannot say exactly how much money I have saved over the year by containering.
According to an Austrian statistics document, each Austrian household will spend around € 15.6 per month on fresh vegetables and € 15.0 on fruit in 2016. This seems to me very little and certainly does not apply to households like mine, which rely very much on vegetable-based nutrition. I used to spend it on the market in a day. Nevertheless, according to this study, the „average consumer“ can save about 156€ per year for vegetables (I deducted 31.2€ for salads and mushrooms)!
I can put that money in other things. Supermarkets don’t see any more euros from me. So I choose economically!
10. Trash diving? No Need to do this 🙂
When I hear the term „dumpster diving“ or „garbage diving“, I think of the picture above.
Some people might think it is disgusting to get Food from the garbage bin of the Supermarket, and I was one of them. It’s not. I’ve never been deeper than with my arm in a container. Because the fresh stuff is on top anyway.
It doesn’t look like your compost or residual waste either. Because most things just got in a few hours ago and are completely intact. If you regularly go to „your shop“ containers, you will hardly find any rotten food.
The term „Dumpster Diving“ is misleading. Because nobody who does containering actually has to dive into the trash. So containering is a much cleaner business than most people think. Give it a try!
Containering has enriched my life incredibly and I couldn’t imagine it without my evening excursions anymore. It was the last reason for me to finally start blogging and made my diet much more varied and vegetable-rich (not to forget banana-rich!).
Give it a try, you’ll be thrilled!
If you have experience with containering: What do you find and what else do you take with you from this experience besides fruit and vegetables? I look forward to your comments!
Picture 1: from pexels, an online Picture Archive. See https://www.pexels.com/
1] FAO (2013). Toolkit Reducing the Food Wastage Footprint. p.13 http://www.fao.org/docrep/018