Category Archives: Avoid Waste

Recycling What You Consider Waste Now & Save

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Do you throw out the bones in the trash?
One of the main things we need to do on the road to living green is to reduce the refuse that goes to landfills. Waste reduction can become a growing practice that can make a huge difference. our grandmothers did it generations ago. You will be surprised how simple it is.
Instead make your own broth it is simple and will be free compared to buying broth at the store in boxes that go in the landfills.
Save your chicken bones in the freezer. In the case of a holiday turkey I divide the bones into 2 gallon bags and you get two batches of broth. I remove the sharp bones on the drumsticks for safety.
Put the bones in a large kettle or stock pot.
Add 3 quarts of water and fill an additional 1quart measuring cup to add at the end.
Add a large onion diced
1-3 carrots diced
1 to 1.5 cups of celery sliced thin
Add you favorite herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley.
Add salt & pepper to taste . If your salt is restricted add no more than 1 tablespoon of salt
Bring it to a boiling boil with the cover off and boil for 35 minutes.
You can tell when it is done when the bones float to the top. Let cool and remove the bones and veggies and discard.

imagesYou can put the strained broth in 1 qt wide mouth canning jars but leave some space at the top so the jars won’t break in the freezer. You have the option of using 1 qt plastic containers instead. When you know a recipe will call for broth defrost the broth taking it out the night before.

homemade-chicken-noodle-soup-collage3When you make soup from the broth always start with carrots, onion and celery use any left over veggies in the refrigerator even mashed potatoes with thicken the soup a little. You can always take 1 boneless chicken breast out of the freezer and cut it in desired sizes to add more can also ad some rice noodles, or barley for variety. Great soup never the same twice. If you are a small family you can always put the soup in a 1 qt. canning jar while it is still quite warm and put on a dome lid. leave it on the counter you will hear a metallic click as it seals It will keep in the refrigerator for weeks until you need it
Also take the vegetable water from steaming vegetables and freeze in ice cube trays. Keep a bag of these in the freezer for when you need a small amount of broth for the wok or frying pan when cooking

Holiday Entertaining for a Small Planet





How to reduce the footprint of your feast


How to reduce the footprint of your feastOne thing is certain: you don’t want to skimp on food. It’s a party after all.But you do want the food to be sustainable and the quantity to be appropriate for the number of guests you plan to have.

No need to skimp on decorations either. They underline the holiday theme and set a festive tone. Just choose decorations that are reusable and, in the case of lighting, energy-efficient.

Avoid disposable plates. If that’s not possible, buy a green brand. Ditto for cutlery and glasses.


Send electronic invitations and let any computer-averse guests know about the fete by phone.


Say “no gifts, please!” (except, perhaps, for the children). Or suggest a type of gift-giving that will keep the waste down.

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Those are the general guidelines. Now for specifics.

Portions. Nip the excess leftover problem in the bud by preparing the right amount of food for the company, taking into account the proportion of men, women and children. Keep in mind that the more dishes you serve, the more people will tend to eat overall. The length of time prior to the meal will affect the quantity of snacks and hors d’oeuvres required


Menu. Build your menu around local and seasonal foods. Granted, there isn’t that much available in December in colder areas, but see what you can get—if not from the immediate vicinity then from the region. It will be easier if you shop at a farmers’ market than the grocery store. New York City’s farmers’ markets typically have the following fruits and vegetables in December: apples, pears, shell beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, collard greens, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, winter squash and turnips. The list sounds rather like the makings of a traditional holiday meal, doesn’t it?


As to meat and other animal products (including milk, cheese and eggs), the less you serve the better. I know that doesn’t sound very traditional, and may even seem inconceivable to some, but consider the idea if you care about the environment. Our nation’s meat-centric way of eating is unsustainable for a variety of reasons. 

How do you cut back on animal products at a holiday meal? Instead of a roast, which encourages heavy meat consumption, make a dish that mixes meat with plant foods, such as a stew with carrots, turnips and leeks or stuffed cabbage. Tempt the company with an elegant vegetarian entree, such as a goat cheese, beet and walnut tart.


Include some vegan preparations on the menu and use plant-based ingredients wherever possible, even in meat dishes. For example, substitute vegetable broth for chicken or meat broth and vegetable oil for butter. You never know—the result may be even better than the original recipe. One Hanukah, when I had a mixed-food crowd for dinner (vegan, vegetarian and meat-eating), I made two batches of latkes (potato pancakes). In one, I used oatmeal as the binder, which I’d never tried before, and in the other, the usual eggs. The vegan latkes turned out much crisper and everyone preferred them.


The Vegan Latkes

Serves 8-10

8 lg baking potatoes
2 med onions
1 c cooked oatmeal
1/2 c matzoh meal or flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for frying

Coarsely grate the potatoes and onions and put in a colander. Gently squeeze a handful at a time to rid of some of the excess liquid and put in a large bowl. (Do not squeeze too hard.)

Heat a couple of tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat while you finish preparing the potatoes. You want the oil nice and hot (but not burnt) when you are ready to fry.

Stir the potatoes and onions to mix. Add half the matzoh meal or flour and stir. If liquid is pooling in the bowl, add more. Then add half the oatmeal, season with salt and pepper and stir again. If the mixture isn’t holding together well enough to make patties, add more oatmeal.

To check if the oil is hot enough, drop a tiny bit of the potato mixture in the oil and see if it sizzles. If not, wait a couple of minutes and check again.

Shape the mixture into patties any size you like and drop in the pan. Do not crowd. Fry until crisp and golden-brown on both sides.

Before frying your next batch, add more oil to the pan and check to see if your potato mixture is too liquidy. If so, stir in more matzoh meal or flour.

Drain the latkes briefly on a couple of layers of old kitchen towels that you don’t mind getting stained with oil—or on paper towels made with recycled paper. Serve immediately on a platter warmed in the oven. If serving later, reheat in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve with apple sauce and/or vegan sour cream—

As always, organic food is better than non, unless it comes from the ends of the earth. Use your judgment.

Wine and Spirits.


As with food, so with drink: go local. Wine is made in all 50 states. Really! If you don’t like what your own state has to offer, expand your horizons without leaving the country. You need not import from Europe (or even California) to get fine wine. Locally brewed spirits are also increasingly available (in at least 40 states according to the American Distilleries Institute’s Directory of Craft Distillers). Local wines and spirits that are also organic or natural are best of all.

Leftovers. There are three things you can do with leftovers: keep them and eat them later, send them home with your guests or, if the quantity is truly large, give them to a food bank. Don’t assume food banks will be happy with anything you bring. Contact them in advance to see if they accept leftover foods and what requirements they have. If you’re going to want to give food to guests, get somenon-disposable containers in advance to pack the food in.

Plates, Glasses and Cutlery. Use the real thing, and resign yourself to washing up afterwards—perhaps with help from your guests. If you don’t have enough settings, borrow. When I was growing up, my mother would supplement her silverware with my grandmother’s for big holiday dinners. You can also buy what you need at a discount store. A very inexpensive option is PreserveEveryday reusable plastic tableware (BPA- and phthalate-free), made from 100 percent recycled plastic. If you must have disposables, get products made of recycled plastic, such as Preserve’s On the Go line, biodegradable bioplastics (made from plant ingredients instead of petroleum), bamboo or palm leaves.

Ritual Objects and Decorations.


If your celebration calls for candles, get ones made from beeswax or soy oil. If it calls for a tree, buy a real, cut tree rather than a synthetic one—and recycle it afterwards so it can be chopped up and turned into mulch. Even better, get a living, potted tree and plant it in your yard when the season is over—or donate it to your local park, school or church. (Call first to see if the gift will be welcome.) Instead of buying, folks in the Portland andSan Diego areas can rent living, potted trees. For lights, use energy-efficient LED bulbs. For ornaments, bake your own ormake them from natural objects, such as pine cones, cranberries, cinnamon sticks.

Have a Holiday full of blessings, Have a  Happy Holiday and a Healthy New Year.


Make Your Holiday Feast Zero Waste


Christmas Dinner 19-54-19


Serving soup in a pumpkin is a creative way to help make your meal waste-free! 

Your holiday feast may be a day of indulgence, but it doesn’t have to be a day of waste. By following a few easy steps, you can send less (or nothing!) to landfill this holiday season.

Make a waste-conscious shopping list: Only buy what you need and borrow the rest.

  • When making your shopping list, double check your cupboard so you don’t buy more than you need.
  • For those once-a-year kitchen items, such as a baster, roasting pan, or gravy boat, check to see if you can borrow them from a neighbor who isn’t hosting dinner.
  • When shopping, consider choosing products that come in recyclable packages; look for hard plastic or metal, and avoid soft plastic and tetra packs (the boxes often used for stock).
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  • Before you leave the house, remember your reusable bags, maybe even some reusable produce bags, and, of course, your waste-conscious shopping list.

Set up your blue and green bins so they are easy to access while cooking.

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  • While cooking, you’re bound to have scraps that don’t get used. To make sure they get into the green compost bin, consider using a larger receptacle than usual, or keeping a receptacle on the counter that you can empty easily.
  • If you are feeling ambitious, hang on to your turkey carcass and vegetable scraps and make some stock before putting it all in the green bin for compost. Set
  • Remember to rinse any hard plastic or metal containers and recycle them.
  • Pack cleaned plastic film and plastic bags together and drop them off at your local  supermarket or hardware store. If you are going to recycle the plastic that your turkey is wrapped in, first wash and rinse it and let it dry.

Help your guests understand what goes where.
Did you know that HALF of the material that currently gets put in the black bin (going directly to the landfill) could actually be composted or recycled?

  •  Let your guests know what goes where: Have an empty platter for bones and small pieces of meat   create your own composting, recycling and landfill signs with the Zero
  • Save the liquid from cooked or steamed vegetables. I freeze then in a metal ice cube tray making them easy to use when a recipe calls for a small amount of vegetable broth or to add to soup.  Waste Signmaker.

Holiday feast sorting cheat sheet


  • Green bin: All food scraps including turkey meat, bones, “tofurky” scraps. Soiled paper such as butcher paper and paper towels. And all those miscellaneous items that you only use at this time of year such as cooking string or twine, cheese cloth, tooth picks, wooden skewers, and anything labeled “compostable.”
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  • Place a platter for Bones and Meat Scraps
  • Latter you can divide the Bones in two containers and Freeze to make two Batches of Soup
  • Small pieces of meat can be put in containers to make Turkey Tetrazzini , tacos or  just to add to the soup mashed potaoes and gravy can be used  in soup to add flavor and thicken the soup
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  • Blue bin: Glass bottles, plastic and metal containers, and rinsed aluminum foil go in the blue bin. Take clean plastic film and plastic bags to a local supermarket for recycling.
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  • Black bin: Hopefully nothing!
  • We will know we’ve gotten the word out when they collect trash every other week and recycling every week  make it a goal

Check out Recycle Where for where to recycle food scraps, used cooking oil, or just about anything!

Check for local Whole foods You can even recycle corks from you holiday wine there . Bins are usually set up near the rest rooms.

View Recology’s comprehensive guidelines for what goes in each bin.

Did you have any tips to make your Holiday Feast zero waste? Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!


Waste Wise Tips


What you can do to become a more waste-wise shopper:

  1. Bring and reuse your own bags! Bring large shopping bags or a rolling cart (ideal for public transit users), as well as previously used produce bags for items like lettuce and green beans.
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  1. Bring and reuse your own containers! Delicate items, such as strawberries, will get home safely in a plastic (or glass or metal) container. Reusable containers, like plastic yogurt or cottage cheese containers are also a good option for bulk nuts and dried fruit, salad mix, etc. Your container can double as a bowl or plate for lunch at the market.
  2. Bring and reuse your own utensils! Avoid single use cutlery whenever possible.
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  4. Bring and reuse your own beverage container. A travel mug, glass jar, or water bottle is a reusable alternative to disposable coffee cups and water bottles.
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  6. Assemble a farmers market shopping kit. Keep all of these items together in one place (such as your closet) so you can grab and go when you’re ready to head to the market.
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  8. Look for sellers that make waste-free shopping easy. Ask if packaging can be returned for reuse or credit. Ask if the packaging should be recycled or composted when you are done.  (jam jars, yogurt crocks, berry baskets, etc.). If disposable plastic packaging is the only option, look for minimal packaging. Thank and acknowledge sellers for their waste-wise practices.
  9. Refrigerate (or prepare and eat) your produce as soon as you get home, to keep it fresh longer.
  10. Buy only what you can reasonably eat. Wasted food can be composted, but it is still a waste.
  11. To further minimize food waste, use all parts of the vegetable. For example, instead of throwing away chard stems or turnip greens, try a quick stir fry. Vegetable scraps can also be saved in a bag in the freezer for later use in soup stock. When I go to whole foods and I buy rradishes, carrot, or beets I find many break off the tops and leave them their I pick them up and put them with the appropriate vegetables for added taste and nourishment to our salads and greens
  12. Recycle and compost at the market and at home!
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