There is a lot of buzz in the media about plant based and vegan diets and their impact on the environment, but what about people who aren’t vegan? No matter your diet, there are steps you can take to increase your own food sustainability. We use 40% of our land for food, and 70% of our water – and yet we’re throwing away 1/3 of it all! So here are some simple steps you can take to decrease your carbon footprint because after-all, there is no planet B:
I do a food shop about once a week, and when I get home the first thing I do is store everything properly. Greens get washed, dried (salad spinner is a saviour), and stored in a glass container lined with paper towels. Herbs get the stems trimmed and are stored in a glass jar with water. If you’re not sure, have a quick google and find the best way to store specific foods.
This continues on from storing food properly, but it also includes not buying more than you need and dealing with it properly when you do. Make use of your freezer (for example, freeze bread slices, meats, leftovers), and be aware of the foods you have in the fridge and when they expire. Veggies going bad? Make a big ol’ stew, chilli, curry, roast them and freeze leftovers. Throwing food away is a big waste of your money, and also a waste of resources.
Either at home, or some places allow you to bring/pick up your food waste and they compost it for you. About 80% of my non-recyclable trash is food items (egg shells, avocado skins, banana peels, vegetable tops and seeds, etc), which all ends up in landfill if not composted. That food then becomes biogas and contributes to the climate crises, with an estimated 34% of methane emissions (which is about 20x more damaging than C02!) coming from rotten food.
There has been a rise in plastic free shopping, which I am super stoked about. Individually wrapped bananas and apples? No thanks. Some places go even further, where there is zero plastic and packaging in the shop. You can either take your own containers, or use their recycled paper bags to fill up as much or as little of what you fancy. It’s my go-to for most dry goods such as rice, flour, nuts, seeds, lentils, granola, oats, dried fruits, muesli, and even popcorn.
This is not only for plastic free shopping, but also when buying products. Prioritising items that come in glass jars means that a) no plastic is used and b) you get a “free” glass jar once you’ve used the goods inside it. For things such as nut butters, pasta sauce, olives, and so on I always try and get one in a glass jar.
Do what your budget allows, and what’s available to you. Buying local means the likelihood of the food being fresher is higher, but is also means that it didn’t have to travel far to get to you. While the claims of organic food being higher in nutrition is still debated, it is true that organic (and especially biodynamic) is better for the environment.
If you head to my Instagram, I reduce food waste section on this on my highlights with little video snippets and tips!