I’ll start the series off with “How to be more eco with food”
Food is a tough one as so much of it comes in plastic and there are oodles of imported fruit and veggies out there. Just small changes can add up and make a big difference.
1. Menu plan and make a shopping list
Yes I know so many people tell us this but it really does work. Knowing what you are going to eat for dinner every night really takes the stress out of “what’s for dinner?” and prevents food wastage as you only buy what you need. Yes sometimes when I go to the shops I’ll spot a few items that I forgot to put on the list and it’s tempting to get that chocolate block that’s half price, but by having a list you go straight to each aisle you need and have a more streamlike focus. I’ve started taking this one step further, since having Star Boy it’s been hard to go and do our big weekly shop so I now do a bigger monthly shop of all our staples with Coles online and have it delivered to the house. It’s great as it’s stopped that impulse buying, I can order any time of the day or night and pick a time that’s convenient to me for delivery. Then when we need little top ups my husband works near a set of shops and he’ll head up on his lunch breaks or when I take Star Boy for a pram walk I’ll pick up the odd items we are missing. Since starting this I’ve found we are buying less food and using up more of what we have already in the cupboard.
2. Farmers Markets are your friend
Farmers markets are fantastic, not only are you eating more seasonal fruit and veg, you are eating local not imported food. We have market that’s a 10 minute drive from our place and it’s so much fresher, nice and taster than the shop bought stuff. You know your eggs are fresh when there’s feathers still attached. Only thing, there is now a trend with some markets of plastic but it’s not hard to take your own bags we’ve all got those reusable bags hanging around the joint, keep them in the car. The one I go to you have to use the plastic bags to get your produce weighted in but afterwards I just transfer it over into my own bag and hand the plastic bag back. I’ve gotten a few strange looks from the seller but I just tell them to reuse it for the next person. Most of the time the produce is either cheaper or on par with the shops and 80% of it is chemical and pesticide free.
3. Recycle your soft plastics
I have spoken about this before, you can recycle your soft plastics at your local Woollies or Coles. Cereal packets, plastic bags, frozen veggie packets, muesli bar wrappers etc can all be recycled. Just keep a bag in your laundry and fill up with all your soft plastics and next time you’re near the shops take it along with you and add it to the bin at the front. They get remade into new items. Yes it is better if you can avoid getting soft plastics in the first place but thankfully we can now recycle the ones cannot always avoid.
4. Freeze baby freeze
Use the freezer to your advantage by buying sustainable meat choices when on special or organic veggies, just wash them and freeze in meal portion sizes. I do this with organic kale, I wash the kale, strip off the leaves and portion them out in zip lock bags (yes zip lock bags are plastic but I already have heaps in the cupboard from years ago that I just wash out, dry and reuse over and over). Spinach works well with this too, also when I make Star Boy’s food I freeze up all the pureed veggies ready to just grab and go.
5. Skip the multi packs
Buy individually if you can: this is good with foods such as apples, plums, peaches, kiwi fruits, potatoes, onions, tomatoes etc. We were always throwing out so many potatoes and summer fruits because I would buy the big bags, buy only what you know you’re going to eat. So say for example you need only 5 potatoes for the week for recipes then only buy 5 potatoes. Peaches and summer fruit can go off quite quickly so only buy a handful of them. I’ve sometimes just bought one of each, yes you do get the odd comment about it but it doesn’t really matter because you are not throwing the off fruit out later or wasting the money you spent on it either.
6. Buy in bulk
Yes I know the point above is skip multi packs but certain items are better if you can buy them in bulk as it reducing the packaging and the many trips up the road for them. We buy rice in a 5kg bag then decant it as we need it. I would love to live near a bulk food store that you can use your own bags like the store Naked Foods but there isn’t one nearby. We buy bulk items from Costcos and there’s no plastic bags at the checkouts which is a thumbs up.
Every little step and change helps, it’s better to be doing little than nothing at all. What do you do to be eco with food? Do you have any other ideas to add? Let me know as I’m always on the hunt for new ideas. Next time we’ll see how you can be a tryhard in the bathroom.
Photo source here