I think we have all been trying to reduce waste, especially plastic waste for sometime now. Some of our local laws have helped us in this direction by prohibiting grocery outlets handing out free plastic bags that end up in the ocean (and in our seafood), in trees, and in already pushed to the limit landfills.
The awareness of plastic straws is currently in the forefront and we are glad for that education too. I found bamboo straws for sale at our healthy food store. Keeping a few of these in our car will be a big help! Along with glass and ceramic food containers for meals to-go.
Here are more simple ways to reduce waste and help your environment:
- Reusable Produce Bags
- Clean Your Plate to Curb Climate Change
- Use & Store Stainless Steel, Glass or Bamboo Straws
- Buy in Bulk to Eliminate Packaging
- Bring Your Own Paper Bags to Your Farmers Markets
- Keep Cutlery & Containers in Your Purse & Car
- Bring Your Coffee Mug to Cafes for Refills
- Reduce Animal Waste & Eat Vegetarian
- Buy “Ugly” Fruits & Veggies — They are often the tastiest!
Agriculture is a major driver of climate change, accounting for more than 20% of overall global greenhouse gas emissions. Between 30 and 40% of food produced around the world is never eaten. It is spoiled after harvest, during transportation, and/or thrown away by food stores and consumers. That’s us! We can help prevent waste and curb climate change by “cleaning our plates,” and buying only what our families will eat each week, deeply reducing food waste and the greenhouse gasses it produces.
Most of us shop weekly either at food stores or farmers markets. This requires us to estimate how much food we ourselves, or our family, will eat in a week. We can make better use of our freezers by packaging the greens that remain in our produce bins into a glass jar for soup the following week. This could include things like onion and garlic peels, veggie stems, etc. All these micro-nutrient rich food stuffs that contribute to “garbage” in landfills and climate change could be contributing to our overall health!
Reduce Animal Waste & Eat Vegetarian. We must also address the environmental impact of factory farming. Did you know that agribusiness, industrial food, and large scale farming systems are the major cause of man-made global warming. Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), contribute directly to global warming by releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—more than the entire global transportation industry. The air at some factory farm test sites in the U.S. is dirtier than in America’s most polluted cities.
Freezing in glass jars is easy if you leave the lid on the counter until the contents has frozen. Leaving the jar lid on the counter, in plain sight, helps you to remember to put the lid on the jar in the freezer.later. Better soups, more nutritious broths and sauces, and we feel we are contributing in yet another way to improve our environment and reduce the effects of climate change on our own communities and those around the world.
“Ugly” or misshapen foods are healthy, nutritious, and sometimes more delicious — especially if a sunspot/sun kissed spot is what makes it “ugly.” I find this to be true especially with fruits such as apricots, nectarines, apples an plumbs, even grapes. The best tasting are the ones kissed by the sun! Keeping these foods out of landfills is a most important effort being carried out by forward thinking folks around the world. The land, water, and human effort it takes to grow all food is to be respected. Have fun with ugly foods, and teach children to appreciate the efforts it takes to grow nutritious foods.
I’ve noticed that some American women over 90 are holding on to the outdated behavior and belief that “A lady always leaves a bit of food on her plate.” In India this would be an insult to the cook — and indeed an insult to Mother Earth everywhere! It’s time for all of us to shop for, cook, and help ourselves to only as much food as we plan to ingest — and clean our plates — no matter our age!
Reducing food waste is not a focus of governments at the moment, so we must pick up this effort as a personal and family ethic. It snowed in Rome this week. Climate Change is effecting us all, and will take all of us to turn it around.