Working in the recycling industry means it’s pretty much second nature to me to be environmentally conscious in whatever way I can. From doing my part to recycle at home to reducing food waste, every small step counts.
If you’ve watched David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series, you’ll be all too familiar with the devastating effects plastic waste can have on our marine life. Thankfully, companies are taking action to ensure they reduce their impact. We’ve seen a ban on microbeads in beauty products (yay!), Adidas have created Parley sustainable activewear from marine plastics and many companies including plastic packaging manufacturer, BPI Consumer Packaging, send zero waste to landfill. But, how can you get involved at home?
The kitchen is a great place to start. Mainly because it’s the place where I’m betting most waste is produced.
Personally, I couldn’t actually tell you the last time I scraped food into the bin and I’m pretty proud of that fact. Here’s how I keep my food waste to a minimum and hopefully do my part to make our planet that little bit greener. After all, I’m sure you’re well aware that I’m a sucker for the outdoors.
DON’T EAT BEYOND YOUR MEANS
Much like you shouldn’t live beyond your means, you shouldn’t eat beyond them either. Whenever I’m cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I always elicit some form of portion control. There’s no need to cook a whole feast for just one meal, especially if you’re like me and living in a house of 1, not 100.
If I’m following a recipe, I’ll see what the recommended serving size is of the recipe, then reduce or halve the ingredients to suit my needs. If I do make extra food then you sure can bet that means leftovers for the next day. Stock up on freezer tupperware boxes so you can easily freeze leftovers ready for defrosting and eating later in the week.
FROZEN IS GOLDEN
Speaking of frozen, I always try to buy frozen veg when I can. It lasts a lot longer than fresh veg and despite what myths you may have heard, it’s just as nutritious. I don’t know about you but I just cannot get through fresh veg before it goes limp and lifeless. If you do buy fresh veg and find it’s starting to look a little bit worse for wear, don’t worry! It’s usually just a little dehydrated and will still be perfectly tasty once cooked. Another pro-tip if, like me, you don’t get through fresh veg quick enough is to chop it up and freeze it. Voila, your very own pre-prepped frozen veg. Future you will be grateful when looking to whip up a tasty stir fry in a hurry.
ONLY BUY WHAT YOU NEED
If you ask me, this is the most important tip to reduce your level of food waste. When food shopping it can be all to easy to be sucked in by the promotions, mouth-watering sweet treats or the thought of ‘ooh, I’ll just treat myself to one of those’. Next thing you know, you’ve spent way over budget and bought more food than you can fit in your cupboards. One of the best ways to avoid this is to never – I repeat, never – shop when you’re hungry. It will only end in a very tasty, but potentially wasteful, disaster.
My second tip is to try to do your food shop for every few days, instead of limiting it to a big shop once a month or once a week. I find that doing a three-day food shop, I’m more conscious about what food I’m buying and I’m more likely to be inspired to use up the ingredients sitting in the cupboard or fridge.
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
A great way to reduce food waste is to simply grow your own fruit, veg and herbs! So many vegetables, fruits and herbs can be regrown from scraps and cuttings such as garlic, spring onion and basil.
With enough love and attention, avocados can even be given a new lease of life. Does that mean we can all stop buying sooo many avocados and save for a house?
Simply poke cocktail sticks in an avocado pit and balance it over a water-filled glass so it’s slightly submerged. Keep it in a warm spot, out of daylight sunlight, and replace the water frequently.
Tend to the roots, plant your seed in soil when the time is right and watch as your avocado tree begins to grow. Though, it’s probably worth noting that it’s unlikely that an avocado tree with bear any fruit. If it does, it can take up to 13 years so you may want to continue buying your avocados so you can enjoy that avo toast!