Waste not, want not

Holidays in the tropics are spectacular.

Being spoiled in the sunshine, relaxing my muscles and my mind for days on end – it’s good for the soul.

Once back into our First World routines, I want to keep the good feelings coming, and something that sticks with me is not wasting.

At a resort, we are spoiled. What’s not to love?

You can have anything you want, more if you want it. Someone will pick up after you. In stark contrast to that, the Third World cultures where many of these resorts exist, usually exist in an opposite world.

They do not have much, and they waste very little. What they do waste is problematic, because getting rid of garbage on an island is not obvious. Even recycling can pile up. Do you really need to use all those plastic water bottles?

It takes some getting used to, changing one’s habits. Just like we had to remember to take the re-usable grocery bags out of the car so we didn’t use the plastic or paper ones, we had to add the routine of filling our water bottles too.

Now, my reusable bottle is next to my cell phone for when I leave the house. In the airports, there are water dispensers that show how many bottles have been saved from processing when you fill your own container.

It’s time to move to the reduce and re-use part of the slogan; recycling is not enough anymore.

Hubby and I are conscious of waste on island holidays where we see the lack of infrastructure and the waste in the ocean. Here at home, we must continue that stream of consciousness.

China used to buy much of the bulk plastic for recycling from North America but they have stopped, saying they will no longer import any material for recycling plants.

I have started to think of all that packaging…

  • I don’t buy fruits or veggies that are wrapped, but do I even need a plastic bag for each type of produce I buy? I can wash it when I get home and put it in the crisper.
  • Instead of wrapping leftovers in plastic wrap, why not put them in a reusable container with a lid? When I need wrap, I can use the Abeego beeswax wrap my stepdaughter bought us for Christmas.
  • We plan a “leftovers day” in our week to make sure we are using what is in the fridge. A salad with bits of this and that, or soup/stew that can re-purpose a bit of sauce or the last few veggies – they make tasty meals and mean we don’t throw out food we spent good money to eat.
  • When we buy or cook bigger items, we freeze a portion right away. Meat and bread are often in the freezer. (We have a “freezer day” once a week, too; that way we ensure rotation of the stock.)
  • I think before I buy. Is that deal at the store really a deal, or will I end up wasting the extra? I know cucumbers are each cheaper if I buy them in groups at Superstore, but I don’t need three of them right now.

In France, there is a law preventing retail grocery stores from wasting food. It gets taken by non-profit groups and re-distributed in the communities as it approaches its expiry date or the possibility of spoiling.

In Germany, there are cities that have set up fridges for people to place leftovers that can be taken by those in need. I don’t know why we can’t do similar things in our part of the world, but I do know I can do more to respect my food and drink.

It has been said that one person can’t make much of a difference; we are only a drop in the bucket as individuals. Well, the students in Florida who aren’t even voting yet have helped inspire discussion and even change by corporations and politicians.

If each of us reduces our purchase of bottled water and plastic bags, how many drops in a bucket does that make?

If we each tell one more person about making that change, how many of them will take up the cause as well? I know it’s a big bucket, but we will fill it with drops eventually.

The old adage “waste not want not” dates back centuries, so this is not a new idea. Originally (in the 1500s) it was written as “willful waste leads to woeful want,” which might be more easily understood today. The concept that the lack of one thing leads to the lack of another is simple, though.

If you don’t waste it today, you’ll have some left tomorrow when you want it. It sounds like something Mother Nature might have said, don’t you think?

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories