When it comes to watching your waistline watching your household waste could be the perfect place to start. Reducing food waste can mean better health outcomes for you and your family, not to mention the planet. There is definitely a relationship between healthy eating habits and the amount of waste we produce. So for my family we like to eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies, make most of our own meals and snacks, minimise processed and takeaway foods, and avoid bottled drinks. This helps us keep our waste to a minimum.
By shopping as close as possible to the source of the food we eat we support local (and often, small) businesses. It is easier to minimise or avoid pre-packed items and use your own bags or containers.
What you can do:
- Start using reusable mesh or compostable bags for all your fruit and vegetable purchases and try to cut down on pre-packaged items whether they be in soft or hard plastic. Those on polystyrene trays should be avoided as they must go to landfill.
- Commit to reducing your meat and dairy consumption by one to two meals per week. Some of the environmental effects that have been associated with meat production are pollution through fossil fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste, and water and land consumption. The 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found that industrial agriculture and overfishing are the primary drivers of the extinction crisis, with the meat and dairy industries having a substantial impact.
- If you do eat meat shop at a local butcher and ask for your purchases in compostable snaplock bags (you may need to provide your own roll) or BYO containers. Avoiding pre-packed meat will make a big difference to your plastic and smelly landfill waste. A compostable bag goes straight into your benchtop kitchen caddy and can also be used to contain any bones or trimmings before going into your green organics bin.
- Search for ‘Bulk Food Shops <your city>, find your local and start shopping. Switch food items that you currently purchase packaged, e.g. nuts, dried fruit, grains, seeds, to buying using BYO containers, bulk food bags, fabric or paper bags and store in repurposed jars.
- Try to avoid products containing individually packaged items. Where packaging can’t be avoided, purchase the greatest amount that you will use before the expiry date, look at a more concentrated version (that will last longer) or try using less.
- Purchase a water filter to eliminate the need for bottled water and flavour sparkling water with natural juices like lemon and lime.
|Karen Murphy is committed to winning the war on waste. She is a moderator of Adelaide’s own Facebook group Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Radelaide and regularly writes about reducing waste in the home and how to live more sustainably. She has generously shared her knowledge here as a guest writer.|