If you’re at the beginning of your zero waste journey, then food is a good place to start. You can use these small steps as a guide towards achieving a more conscious future and embrace the simple changes that will go along with it over time.
When it comes to food we have the chance to choose to be just that little bit more sustainable every time we buy our groceries, cook and go out for dinner. With a little research comes a lot of opportunity, and with a small change in our habits we can support our environment just that little bit more each day.
Are you ready to get going? Here are some ideas to start you off on your journey:
1. Grow your own
There is something so satisfying about growing your own food, watching the plants grow, and (hopefully) producing their fruits and vegetables. It’s inexpensive and you can start on your windowsill with herbs such as basil and sage, or small veggies such as chili peppers and lettuce. If you have a little more space and light you can easily grow a potted tomato or cucumber plant, combining it with pretty flowers and herbs to make it into an attractive feature.
2. Eat with the seasons and opt local
Both of these points are intertwined, if you eat with the seasons you will be more likely to select local produce. Despite having access to all kinds of food all year round, there’s something special about looking forward to what the next season’s produce brings, everything connects, and we can truly embrace the sentiment of each season, a warm pumpkin soup in the Autumn as the rain pours outside, or a fresh gazpacho in the warm summer sun. By choosing local farmers markets and restaurants that use local, fresh food, you’re supporting your local producers, and on a larger scale supporting the food chain, with less miles travelled and ultimately fresher and healthier produce.
3. Food prep and correct storage
Setting aside time to prep your food for the week can lessen the chance of ending up with food waste and random meals. Researching a few simple recipes and batch cooking can help your groceries to go a little further. Knowing how to correctly store food can also improve its shelf life and help to avoid any unnecessary food waste. From air tight containers for your dry goods to freezing your leftover veggies for a future minestrone, there are many ways to preserve food. I like to freeze my herbs as I find that if left in the fridge they tend to wilt and I’m not able to use them all, I also freeze fruit and vegetables to stop them from going bad, they allegedly have the same nutritional value. Next up will be the wonderful world of pickling, something I’m looking forward to getting started on.
4. Go Plastic Free
Following on from the above point, you can also make conscious choices in your kitchen. By switching up your Tupperware for mason jars, you can actually see what’s inside and they tend to look more elegant. Instead of plastic wrapping you can try beeswax, It’s reusable and works just as well as other food wraps. If you’re prone to a packed lunch or food on the go then you can try resealable sandwich bags, which can be washed and reused. I also like to recycle old jam jars and condiment jars into various storage options.
When delving into the world of sustainability, sometimes the best thing to do can be to start small and to then build upon these smaller actions. In the end, all these little changes that we make every day can inspire us to think differently about how and what we consume in all aspects of our lives, to be more engaged in the process, and to encourage others.