For anyone who reads the news or has seen David Attenborough's latest doco A Life On Our Planet it’s obvious more than ever that climate change is a thing and humanity plays a huge part in the future of our planet.
Sustainable living is becoming increasingly popular, as we’re becoming more aware of the damage certain products are doing to our environment. Lately, we’ve seen industries all around the world, from fashion to technology and hospitality embracing the issue and making changes to help better the planet.
There are eight billion people in the world, and as consumers, it’s up to us to make conscious decisions on the things we invest in. And if we all take this on, the future of our planet will look much more promising. So what can you do today, to make a difference tomorrow? Why not start in the kitchen? To help you, we’ve put together some suggestions on how to make your kitchen more sustainable.
1. Reduce waste
Did you know that five billion kilograms of food ends up as landfill each year? To put that in perspective, it’s equivalent to 300 kilograms of food waste, per person. Additionally, food waste is responsible for more than five per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, and is a major problem globally. Throwing food away is not only a waste of money, it also contributes to methane gas emission, which is one of the biggest contributors to climate change.
A great way to reduce food waste is to buy what you need for the week, and also use every part of the meat or vegetables you’re using. There are plenty of ways to use up all your food, like freezing leftover vegetables, meat bones or fruit and using them to make a homemade broth or smoothies. Most fruit and vegetables have their nutrients and fibre stored in their skin, so eating your produce with the skin on or saving it for later is also great for your health.
2. Ditch plastic
Mother nature is more in danger than ever before. Our beautiful beaches, coastlines, forests and wildlife are threatened due to climate change inaction, but there is still time for all of us to reduce our footprint. Shopping and choosing to incorporate eco products into your day to day is a step in the right direction.
Plastic is known for being a versatile material, manufactured to be durable and last forever. It is always a convenient option, but will eventually end up in landfills (where it takes 1,000 years to decompose) and our oceans, where it is a massive threat to marine life. A great alternative to plastic containers is Thinc Eco’s Bamboo Lunch Boxes, made from 100 per cent bamboo fibre, and free from any of the chemical carried by plastic.
Most major grocery stores still provide plastic produce bags, however try to refrain from using these and bring your own. An eco alternative for plastic produce bags is using Reusable Produce Bags; it’s such an easy swap to make, and you’ll feel better knowing you’re helping the future of our planet.
3. Buy locally
Buying food from your local farmers market every week is not only a nice way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning, it’s also a great way to help the environment.
Buying your food from large grocery store chains means that sometimes you’re not buying produce that is in season. This typically means that your food has come from overseas, travelling a long way to reach your plate. Buying locally can reduce your carbon footprint as the food doesn't need to travel as far. Plus, it’s always fresher! By shopping locally, you are helping your community and local farmers.
Many cities are motivating citizens to use composting bins, with some local councils even providing people with free mini compost bins. Composting reduces general waste and nourishes soil so it can produce more mineral rich soil. Adding compost to your garden will not only fertilize, it actually feeds your soil with a diversity of nutrients and microorganisms that will improve plant growth.
5. Store food sustainably
Next time you’ve finished using a jar of peanut butter, instead of throwing it away, keep the jar, and use it to store pantry staples. You can reduce your plastic use further, by taking your jars and heading to your local bulk food store. There you’ll find all your pantry staples, like dry legumes, grains, nuts and more to fill your jars with. This is a great way to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging that legumes and grains are usually sold in at grocery stores.
And If you’re someone who always uses plastic ziplock bags often, you can now opt for our Reusable Silicone Ziplock Bags. These durable, eco-friendly bags are made from BPA food grade silicone, making them a great way to store food on the go, and keep your food fresh and free of any chemicals.
Written by Andonia Kailis and Hannah Dunkley.
This article originally appeared on Vogue Living Australia.