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Food Waste Friday ~ Monetary Cost Part 2

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I read an article yesterday over at MSNBC.COM that claims 30-50% of the world’s food is thrown away! It claims the average American throws away 33 pounds of food a MONTH – at a cost of $33! I am SHOCKED! I might be extrapolating a little too far, but with 6 people in my family, if we threw away that much food, I would be throwing $198 in the garbage A MONTH! With a monthly grocery budget of only around $350, I can’t even begin to fathom wasting that much food. What do you think?

There are so many other factors besides money that are at stake that it kind of makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. We’re talking environmental impacts of having produced all of the food in the first place, environmental impacts of throwing it in the landfill, human and animal costs of food distribution…all kinds of things besides money are at stake here.

I’m glad I’m participating in FWD with Frugal Girl so I can get my own waste under control. I still throw out food each week, but thinking about it and being more mindful has to be a good thing, right?

My waste this week includes a small bowl of frosted mini wheats that we dumped thawed milk on. I don’t normally freeze milk so I wasn’t prepared for the texture change. The milk was super cold and a little lumpy. I don’t know if that’s normal? I would have used the milk in baking, but on cereal it was gross. So much to my 4 year old’s chagrin, she couldn’t eat her favorite cereal and I don’t normally buy this cereal so it was a very sad food loss for her.

I also made a pot of coffee without grinding the beans first. Haha! I’m not really sure how that happended, but the coffee was dumped. I ground the wet beans and tried again. Still not right – so a seonc pot of coffee was dumped and the beans. I think that I might have been able to let the wet beans dry before grinding them. But I have no clue. I have made coffee without putting the beans in at all, but I’d never made a pot of coffee without grinding beans before. Another sad food loss.

And finally, I found 1/2 a cup of moldy apple sauce in my fridge. It was homemade apple sauce from free apples, so the monetary cost wasn’t that great, but there was quite a bit of time involved – picking, preparing, canning. Oh well. I kind of bummed about this one because I’ve found apple sauce to be a nice substitute for oil in some baked goods – and oil’s not cheap.

So there you have it. My food waste compared to the rest of the average nation. I think I’m doing much better than the average US citizen and that makes me happy.

How’d you do this week?

Linking up: Frugal Girl; Frugal Friday



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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blankJess says

    I agree that 33 lbs is ridiculous. I feel like weighing my waste now lol. I have to say that I love your coffee story. Some days you just have brain farts. If you like coffee ice cream you could always have soaked the wet beans in milk to make homemade coffee ice cream, but I don’t anticipate you having this problem that often 🙂

  2. blankchantal says

    Honestly, you put me to shame. I probably do fall into that shocking category you read about. It really is bad. That’s the consequence of poor meal planning. I’d be thrilled if all I had to throw away was what you had! I threw out more than that just in my failed first attempt at making veggie chips and strawberries in my dehydrator this week! And food’s not cheap in FL – I paid $4.50 for a dozen beautiful free range eggs at the farm this week and don’t you get that for $2.50 or so? Ugh!

    • blankMichelle says

      $4.50??? Holy moly. I get beautiful eggs for anywhere from $1.55 – $2 a dozen – the cheaper being from Amish and the more expensive from local people around here. I used to get the most beautiful eggs we have ever had completely FREE from a local librarian. She tried to give me her flock of chickens last year, but we’re just not quite ready for them. Can’t keep them in town and I’m afraid the varmits would eat them up if we put them at the barn before we move there. Soon, I hope. The barn is yelling my name.

  3. blankLaura @ Stealthy Mom says

    In Canada it is common to freeze milk when it goes on sale, but milk is sold in bags as well as jugs. The bags freeze really well. I have frozen milk in jugs and never had a texture change. It takes a long, long, time to thaw in the fridge. Days even. It’s possible that it was still partially frozen.

    I have a question about the “rules” for Food Waste Friday… we have four-legged garbage disposals that help with leftovers and anything that flies off the table. The whistle-sweeper has been known to dispose of anything from cooked zucchini to the leftover solute after making bone broth. Does this “count?”

    I really like the idea of coffee ice cream. Mocha even. I might mess up some beans on purpose.

    • blankMichelle says

      Laura, I’m not sure what officially counts. The longer I’ve done this, the more I have been counting. I suppose if it is food we could have eaten but didn’t for whatever reason, it’s waste? But I’m not sure. 🙂

  4. blankBarb @ A Life in Balance says

    I’ve frozen milk, too, without a texture change. Was it raw milk? I’ve only frozen that once, and not had it change texture.

    Here’s another idea for the coffee beans: melt chocolate over them. Seriously! I’ve seen them sold as an expensive snack. You could also put the beans into your compost. I always feel like something isn’t a total loss if it ends up in the compost.

    • blankMichelle says

      Barb – I LOVE dark chocolate covered espresso beans from Trader Joe’s. Great idea! I’d just be afraid that I’d waste chocolate in addition to the coffee beans.

      It was not raw milk – but it was whole milk and it probably was not all the way thawed, is my guess. I used the rest in pancakes the next day and it was fine. Just not ok for cereal the day we tried.

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