I wasn’t going to make resolutions this year but my editor at the Dublin Informer wants some, so I thought I’d make them available to the rest of the world as well. My Informer column is all about environmental issues (and if you have some you want me to cover let me know) and I’m determined to keep it simple. So here goes with the old mantra – Reduce, Re-use, Re-cycle. In that order. So resolution number one is “If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.” Sounds obvious. Why would we buy what we don’t need? but we were told that a third of the food that went into the supermarket trolleys this year would go to waste – and certainly looking at some of them I could believe it. So resolution number two is “Make a shopping list and stick to it.”
Which sounds pretty simple but how do we decide what should be on that list? As it happens there’s help from Caitriona Redmond of the award winning Wholesome Ireland blog. She’s got a couple of free downloads there which may seem scary at first but really help if you actually screw up your courage to use them. They are stock lists for your cupboards, fridge and freezer, along with meal plans. The frightening bit is taking the time to actually go through all the cupboards and find out what is lurking at the back of them, and how long ago it went out of date. Which doesn’t necessarily mean you have to throw it away – even things like sugar and salt have best before dates but best before doesn’t mean inedible after. Use your common sense and check with the FSAI guidance. So turn out the cupboards, enter the data on Caitriona’s stock sheets and use the information to design meal plans. I’m betting that most of us don’t need to shop for a week or two after Christmas – we just need to redesign. And if something has been sitting there because you don’t actually feel like eating it maybe someone else would enjoy it. Just because Christmas is past it doesn’t mean that organisations like Simon, St Vincent de Paul and Penny Dinners don’t still need our support. So if it is surplus but still good pass it on – but maybe contact the organisation first to make sure it is something they can use.
And I haven’t even got to Re-use and Re-cycle yet! They’ll have to wait for another day. One item we did decide we needed over Christmas was a steam cleaner. We borrowed one first and loved how clean all our greasy surfaces came without having to use any chemicals. So we did a careful assessment of what needs cleaning regularly and chose the model that will do it best, then shopped around. Interestingly the shop we eventually bought from had a price tag in store that was considerably higher than the on line price. We queried it and got the extra money off. So 99% of all known germs will now get killed without using toxins (bicarbonate and soda or white vinegar will actually shift most things) and cleaning will be faster and more efficient. So it may actually get done.
Happy New Year!