Keeping our planet clean together
By Hannah Jump
As we munch our way through the week we rack up a hell of a lot of waste. We unscrunch and untangle our food from its plastic universe, then leave the rest to rot in the back of our fridge.
It doesn’t have to be that way, and with a little thought we can have less of this:
And of this:
We don’t all have the time to shop at places which are packaging-free (like As Nature Intended or farmers’ markets), but there are many easy waste-cutting methods which will save you money and won’t cost you time.
It all starts in the supermarket:
- When will I eat this? Firstly, have a look at your basket and think. Will you really get through 2 tubs of hummus, a loaf of bread, falafel, cheese, ravioli, salad, eggs, and a pizza before they go out of date in the next couple of days? Probably not. Think about when you will eat everything as you take it off the shelf. And if that requires more thinking than you would like to do, buy things with longer shelf-lives. An easy swap is prepared fruit & veg for fresh fruit & veg. A lettuce will last a week, prepared salad half that. Fresh veg is cheaper and usually in less packaging.
- Do I need all this crap wrapped around my food? Be packaging-smart. Have a look around and see if there is a packaging-free, or more packaging-light version. Can you buy loose apples (and put them straight in your bag-for-life) rather than bagged ones? Sadly, it’s not always easy and supermarkets have a lot of work to do in this respect, but make this your challenge! It might encourage you to buy something you don’t normally buy. This is how I discovered the delight that is roasted swede! The same applies for snacks. Vetoe individually wrapped ‘bag in a bag’ foods, like multipack crisps; buy a big bag and portion yourself. I was super happy the other day when I remembered that I could buy washing powder in a cardboard box, rather than in a plastic bottle. Choose glass jars and bottles over plastic jars and bottles (glass jars are perfect for storage and you can use them as hipster glasses).
Cook – but think first!
- What will I make? Before you start cooking the first thing that catches your eye when you open the fridge, think about what needs eating first. Let your food plan your meals for you.
- Can I eat this bit? With a lot of vegetables you can eat almost all of it! Broccoli stalk is the best bit, cauliflower leaves just taste like cauliflower, and the skin of most vegetables is good for you! Don’t trim back your veg into something it is not.
- Can I cook a batch? Less work tomorrow, less food going bad, and more in the freezer. Make tupperware your best friend – perfect for storing and freezing. The cheap purchase that just keeps on giving wash after wash.
- Do you want to eat with me? Share your food and cook together like humans should.
- What do I do when I still have too much food? Love your freezer. So many things can be frozen.
Eat out less:
- But why?! When you eat out you are eating food that has probably been trimmed back to make it perfect, there are probably a hell of a lot of leftovers in the kitchen at the end of the day, and if you are at a fast food place everything will come packaged. Just think of all the waste that London scatters over lunch break – boxes, tubs, plastic spoons. It is gross.
- What do I do for lunch then? Take your leftovers in a tupperware tub: prevents food waste, prevents plastic waste.
- What if i want to eat out? If you are going for a coffee go somewhere you can drink from a china cup. Coffee wasn’t made to be drunk from paper. Buy a Keep Cup (the glass ones are super cool), or at least say no to the lid or the paper sleeve. The same applies for restaurants – eat in and off a plate! Give preference to cafes that use paper boxes. Take a metal fork with you (doubles up as a weapon of defence if things go awry). Think before your grab 10 napkins.