Do you know what’s the biggest trash we produce every day?
That’s right. Out of 5,600 tons of daily trash that Metro Manila alone generates, 40 percent of that is food scraps.
|Make it a habit to conserve food by getting only what you feel you can consume.
In a poverty-stricken country like ours, this statistic is bothersome. So many folks struggle with having enough food on the table, yet almost half of the waste we produce is food.
It was by this thread that Electrolux’s newest campaign, Do More With Less, was created. Launched on Earth Day, the campaign urges us, homemakers (and by that, they mean moms, dads, and even singletons), to be more conscientious about our resources and to make use of what we have to create amazing stuff at home. Upcycle, as they call it.
|Cutesy eco-friendly pot-in-a-cup with fresh oregano from Electrolux. Stands on my mini-study now.|
And speaking of upcycling, here’s a li’l fun fact, which I learned only from Cheska (Close kami, okay? LOL.) during the launch: Electrolux’s Ultra Silencer vacuum is actually 55 percent made from recycled materials. Now, that’s what I call walking the talk.
Electrolux Assistant Marketing Communications Manager Kai Pioquinto further explains, “What we want is to empower women to be more creative and resourceful, because a reduction in waste means more savings.” Makes sense, doesn’t it?
|Earthy treats by Bizu during the launch.
In a country where, in most households, there’s too much month at the end of the money, optimizing all resources so nothing goes to waste ensures that we don’t burn our savings buying things we can actually make from existing materials at home, be it food or objects.
In my case, for instance, that means bringing my own water bottle when we travel, instead of buying mineral water. Or making use of tattered towels and blankets as rags.
In terms of food, my MO is to try to reduce as much food leftovers as possible; if not, I eat the leftovers or recycle them. Here are some of my tricks to avoid food leftovers:
1. Do the groceries wisely. This means avoiding shopping for food when I’m hungry, ’cause the tendency then is to buy food I don’t actually need. I also make a detailed grocery list, so I don’t accidentally purchase items that I still have in the fridge.
Here’s another neat idea I learned recently. Cut one end (about 1/4) of an orange. Eat the pulp but leave the wick at the center. Pour in any kitchen oil inside, up to about half the wick, and voila! You have a citrusy candle!
2. Cook and serve for the exact number of mouths to feed. I’ve been regularly cooking meals for the family for over five years, so more or less I already have an idea of how much our family of three consumes in one meal. When I have guests coming over, say, there are four of us eating, I just double the amount of food I make to ensure there are no leftovers.
3. Store leftovers properly and eat them on the next meal. In the rare event that we get to have leftovers, I consume the leftover by the next meal and simply subtract one person (i.e. me) from the number of people I’m cooking for.
4. Pick food from the grocery shelf that has the longest expiry date. This is especially true when buying breads. I don’t buy a loaf that I know is going to expire in the next three days simply because we won’t be able to consume it all. I make it a habit to check expiration dates especially on easy-to-expire items. It’s tedious, but it’ll save you more in the long run.
5. Buy perishable items from the local market. It’s tempting to sometimes buy everything in one sweep when you’re already in the supermarket, but I avoid doing so for perishable items unless it’s pretty dire. I usually buy fruits, vegetables, and fish from local roaming vendors or the talipapa on an as-needed basis to keep them from overriping or spoiling.
|And then the remaining part you cut off, you can use a sponge. Neat, huh?|
And here are some more upcycling tips from the Electrolux ambassadors themselves:
1. Chef Rosebud Benitez
Turn your leftover veggies to a yummy soap. Chef Rosebud says that they rarely, if ever, have wasted food around the house, because leftovers are being reused and made into something else. “If you have kids, it’s hard to feed them vegetables. So what I do if I have leftover veggies from last night is I turn it into a healthy and yummy soup.”
Make your own deodorizer. “I use empty spray bottles and then mix a drop of essential oil – like lavender – with alcohol and water, and that’s what I use to spray on the curtains and the house, so we don’t have to buy deodorizers.”
|How to do your own deodorizer-ala-Rosebud. We’re given these to take home, and it’s so easy to do – even you can do it.|
2. Chef Bruce Lim
Use your microwave. “You can make anything with a microwave. I often use it when making steamed fish, You can even bake or cook rice in it. The good thing about using one is that it only costs one peso per minutes (Who knew?), so it’s cheaper than using a stove.”
Reuse your empty cans as ringmold. “In the resto, there are times when we have our ringmolds misplaced, and we need them pronto. What we do is we use empty cans of canned food, as ringmold. You can reuse them for as long as you have them cleaned out well. Don’t throw them out.”
|Electrolux ambassadors share their upcycling tips during the Do More With Less launch.|
3. Cheska Kramer
Reuse old clothes or offer them as hand-me-downs. “The kids (clothes) are sponsored, so most of them are used only once or twice. We don’t buy clothes anymore; we just reuse them. Kendra’s ‘pinagliitan’ are used by Scarlett. And when they’ve both outgrown them, we give it away to cousins, my brother, or our helpers, or donate them to an orphanage. If the clothes are already tattered, we sew them together to make rags.”
Use coffee grind as fertilizer. “It was my husband Doug who taught me to reuse coffee grind as fertilizer in our plant box. It’s safer and more earth-friendly than buying toxic chemicals.”
|We were asked to create something from these materials during a game. I’m not really sure what we did. Haha.|
Make handmade dolls instead of buying. Cheska said she got this from her mom, who used to make handmade dolls for her. She uses old clothes as well and old materials from her home to make dolls for both Scarletta and Kendra.
Stress the importance of saving paper to kids. “I often tell Kendra – kasi she loves to doodle – that when you make paper, that means a tree is cut down. So the more paper we use, the more trees are cut. So as much as she can, if she wants to draw, she has to use as little paper as she can, or use ‘yung mga gamit na, not new ones.”
|Make your home greener.|
You too can take part in doing more with less! Electrolux is holding a weekly Reduce Food Waste Challenge on Facebook where you can share your own lifehacks for reducing waste (e.g. your own upcycling tips for banana peels).
Most ingenious idea each week wins cool prizes from Electrolux (trust me when I tell you, they don’t scrimp on prizes. AT ALL.). You can join the challenge by visiting the Electrolux Little White Book FB page here. Or follow them on IG and Twitter @ElectroluxPH for more tips!