I love when Small Footprints gives me an easy challenge. This week’s challenge from Reduce Footprints is: Close the door
This week be mindful of opening the refrigerator and freezer. Resist browsing the contents and/or “grazing”. Close the door rather than hold it open while you pour a glass of juice or quickly use an item to be returned to the shelf. When you must open the doors, minimize the time and shut them as quickly as possible.
Most of you reading my blog know that I am currently without a refrigerator or a freezer. For those of you who didn’t know I will give you a brief history of how this came about. When I moved into my apartment it came with out a fridge or stove. Not having a stove, or the ability to hook one up was interesting to me, it meant I would finally have the perfect excuse not to cook. But a fridge was another matter. I gave much thought to this and realized that since I was now living alone, half a mile from the local grocery store and not much further from the farmers market in the summer months, it would be rather wasteful to buy a full-sized fridge. Instead, I purchased a small dorm-sized one.
It worked well enough but it was usually pretty empty. Since my drink of choice is water or hot tea there wasn’t a need to store beverages, and leftovers became my biggest problem. I prepare lots of soup and other meals in a slow cooker, but that left me with so much food to eat before it went bad I tended to grow tired of the same meal day after day, and yes it resulted in food waste.
When the fridge quit working, I decided to see how I would manage without it. Winter was easy, any leftovers or things I wanted to keep cold could go in the front window of my apartment and frozen items could be stored in the trunk of a car to keep it safe from wildlife. It wasn’t the best solution as I had to keep a close eye on the changing weather to get food eaten before a warm day, and digging my way through the snow to get to my food wasn’t the highlight of my day, but it worked.
During this time I began to research which foods needed to be kept refrigerated and which didn’t. What I learned was other than meat and dairy, which I don’t eat, very little really needs to be kept cold. I have stored eggs on the counter without any trouble and now shake my head at the wasted electricity used to keep eggs cold in the stores. But I realized I do need a freezer. Rather than eating the same food over and over in trying to finish it before it goes bad, it will be nice to have a little more variety. I will be able to prepare a large amount of food, section it up into serving sized containers and store it in the freezer.
I know my electric use will go up with the freezer, even taking in to account that I’m not cooking every day, but there has to be a trade-off in life. I can’t make up for the wasted energy others use no matter how little I consume. Instead, I would like to be an example to others to question what they may be able to live without. Change will only come about when people begin to question what they take for granted now.