Being green and eco-friendly is the name of the game, and everyone can play their part. Food is one of the areas where you can make simple changes that will reduce your carbon footprint. Everything from the transportation of food, to its packaging, to the items you use you eat – little tweaks can be made all the way along to minimize your effect on the environment.
Localize Your Supply Chain
It takes an abundance of energy to transport foods to a grocery store. While there are items that you simply can’t readily get elsewhere, try to source your food locally as often as possible. Buy your meat from a local farmer who utilizes sustainable practices. Buy your produce from the local farmer’s market. Find a local dairy farmer, a local egg farmer. The more food that you can source locally, the fewer fuel emissions involved in getting your food to your table. And you’ll be supporting small farmers, keeping your dollars in your own community. Wins all around!
Shop For Misshapen Produce
Sadly, an abundance of perfectly delicious and healthy produce is tossed simply because they are misshapen. Ugly produce doesn’t sell in the grocery stores. Thankfully, services such as Imperfect Foods have realized that there are many consumers who would love to buy this unwanted produce, if only it were offered to them. A subscription to such services will give you such discounts on your product that the fee will be more than covered in your savings, and you’ll be helping to prevent the ridiculous amount of food waste.
Reduce Takeout Plastic
One of the simplest changes to make is to minimize the disposable plastics and styrofoams involved with restaurant and fast-food eating. You will need to bring your own items. You can either bring your own reusable silverware, straws, and food containers from home, or you can purchase some specifically for eating out. Many companies now sell travel-friendly kits with bamboo cutlery, metal straws, napkins, and even a collapsible cup. If you’re grabbing your meal to go, simply ask when you order if they could pack your food in containers that you provide. As this has become more common, you’ll likely be given the green light!
Use Real Dishes At Home
It can be so tempting to eat a meal and not have many dishes afterward, but resources were used for every plastic plate and paper napkin that you throw away. Eat your meals on real plates, use real cups, and provide cloth napkins. It is less harmful to the environment for you to wash your dishes and add napkins to your towel laundry than it is to continually throw disposable flatware into a landfill. Doing dishes takes maybe fifteen minutes, depending on the size of your family. The plastic plates, on the other hand, will be in a trash heap for hundreds of years.
Cook Your Own Food
So much of the food in grocery stores is wrapped or bagged or canned. While some level of that is necessary, plastic wrapping individual cucumbers and potatoes? Double bagging bread? No. You can reduce the amount of packaging waste you contribute to by making as much of your own food as possible. Buy whole ingredients in as large of quantities as you can actually use, and make your meals from them. Compare the amount of packaging waste between a carton of oatmeal and boxes of individual instant oatmeal packets, for example. Making your own sourdough bread only has the bag the flour came in as packaging waste!