But Mom had a good reason. By the time it gets to your plate food that has been grown, watered, picked, transported, processed, packaged, stored and cooked. Whenever we throw out food, we also waste a portion of the resources that went into getting it onto our plates.
And I don’t need to remind anyone that wasting food costs your family money. If only one person in the family leaves just half a teaspoon of oatmeal each day, you’ll throw out more than 11 cups over the course of a year.
But there is yet another reason to scrape that last bit of food off your plate. Think about where that rice, barley or potato will go next. I’m not even talking about the landfill, just within your own kitchen.
Let’s say you rinse off the bowl in the sink. Forget about the extra water, because maybe you saved it from an earlier dish-washing session. Those grains of oatmeal go into your sink and you will have to scoop them out. I bet that’s not your favorite job. Or they might end up in the dishwasher filter. A better option is to scrape it right into the garbage. But it will start to smell and require attention eventually. If it doesn’t have dairy or meat I guess you can add it into the compost pile, I guess, but putting in edible food kind of defeats the purpose.
So however you look at it, you have to deal with these scraps once or even twice before they’re gone for good. Teach your kids to scrape their plates at the end of their meal. That extra half teaspoon won’t make them fat. Then you can wipe the plate with a sponge and the smaller particles will go right into the drain, never to be seen again.
If your family members regularly leave large amounts of food, start serving smaller portions. Train them to be aware of how much they actually eat.
The same principle applies to cooking and serving utensils. If you leave that oatmeal in the bowl or pot, it will dry into a rock. Then it will need soaking and scrubbing, and you will again end up fishing remnants out of the sink or dishwasher. But if those scraps gets eaten, or put away with the leftovers, the pot or bowl can go right into the dishwasher. You might not even want to bother, as it’ll be so little trouble to wash.
To make scraping pleasant, keep an inexpensive plastic spatula on hand.
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