Reducing food-related waste in the minimalist home


Since adopting a minimalist lifestyle, I have become increasingly aware of the things that we are bringing into the home.

Extra ‘goods in’

For example, our daughter’s fundraising efforts, mentioned previously here, meant that we were recently given donations of items to sell. Happily, some have sold. Others have since been donated. It’s a little like the ‘one in, one out‘ approach, so nothing has been hanging around for too long.

Goods categories you can’t ignore

But what about the items we have to bring into the home? In a recent post, I talked about the way in which we shop online for food and groceries. We love this efficient method of doing our weekly shop, but when our order arrived yesterday, I decided to take a closer look.

Food packaging was my focus, as I reviewed the items that I had ordered the night before.

Food packaging and the scourge of cellophane

First of all, there was a lot of cellophane wrapping. Worse, the cherry tomatoes arrived in a black plastic tray (also wrapped in cellophane) that we are unable to recycle where we live. In addition, our bell peppers were not only wrapped in cellophane, they also had a polystyrene mesh ‘blanket’ to protect them from bruising. Is this really necessary?

I set about removing as much packaging as I could from the items we had ordered to consider it carefully.

Ironically, the dishwasher tablets from Ecover came in a cardboard box that could immediately be recycled but the tablets themselves were individually wrapped… in plastic.

Hmm. There’s a bit of a theme here.


Is there another way?

So, today, I decided to find an alternative way to buy the same sorts of food items but without any of the associated waste.

Enter the high street greengrocer

We needed to top up my fruit and vegetables. So, today we went to the greengrocer in town. As we had to go into town anyway, it was a chance to complete the shopping and see if I could find the things I needed.


I took my own large bag and placed the items directly into it. Although there were plastic food bags available, I ignored those. I managed to find everything I needed and (even better) chanced upon some raw beetroot that my online retailer did not offer. The only things I wanted, which did come in a plastic container, were some blueberries. I bought these, but as I can recycle the box and lid, I didn’t feel too bad about that.

Although this way of shopping presents a small inconvenience, I should see fewer items in the recycling bin at the end of the fortnight and a lot less cellophane in the grey bin (which goes to landfill).

So, what next?

We buy a lot of nut butter, so I’m going to buy this in bulk to avoid using multiple jars. The frozen fruits that my husband, Andrew, uses to make his ‘berry breakfast’ normally come in a plastic carton, with a cardboard surround and a cellophane lid. Instead, our local frozen food store sells frozen berries in plastic bags. I’ll buy these, then send the plastic bags back with our grocery retailer’s carrier bags for recycling that I can return via my delivery driver.

Refuse, Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Rot

I’ve started reading Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life. So, I look forward to more inspiration.

Have you become more conscious of what you bring into your home?Have you been inspired to reduce food waste? What successes have you achieved? Where have the stumbling blocks been for you? Let me know!


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10 thoughts on “Reducing food-related waste in the minimalist home

  1. I have been following your blog for a short time and really enjoy it. I just put the Zero Waste book on hold at the library after reading this post. Thanks!


  2. P.S. I would love to hear about other blogs that you follow and enjoy. Not that my Feedly needs anymore material – I need to declutter that too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve found that I waste less FOOD if I shop every three days or so. Buy it, use it up before buying more. Prevents waste if plans change. And keeps my refrigerator decluttered, and easily wiped down.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Our oldest boy (31) and his 2 daughters (8 & 9) live with us and they eat a lot of Junk! Pop-tarts, chips, fruit roll ups and sugar cereal. I try my best to recycle what I can but it is hard sometimes. He is definitely not interested in reducing the landfill load. He and his kids think it disappears once it is in the bin. Planning to read Bea Johnson’s book when I get the chance. Absolutely love your blog!,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Watching the Netflix Documentary “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things”. I wanted to learn more about this way of living. I am guilty. I feel guilty about the way I live; the way I spend money, debt, time, my thoughts. I want to be more responsible and conscious. I don’t want to continue to live blind and excessively. I am VERY unhappy this way. I know I do not need THINGS but I have attempted to build my life on having THINGS. Mostly because I thought that I needed them. Society teaches that we need more. We need something. I was raised to acquire stuff, stuff to put in my home to look at which look nice to me. to company. to someone. It just feels overwhelming and crowded to me now. Not just physically but mentally congested! I am confused as to why we need this stuff. My mom just redecorated her home after I moved out from having to live together with her and my step-dad for about 5 years. While there I attempted to save money and get my credit in order which I couldn’t do because I was paying rent and bills there on a very low income of about $700 net per month. So I finally just left. I moved in with my boyfriend of 24 years. Immediately he and I clashed about what to put in to the house. He felt I had to much stuff and I complained that he didn’t understand what it takes to have a home. I have since stepped back and re-examined my lifestyle and recognize where I have gone wrong. I just didn’t know any better but I REALLY DO NOW. I am more aware that I would be so happy if I lived a purer simpler life without all the furniture and decor. I would feel more fulfilled and responsible.


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