One of the biggest changes I’ve made in the kitchen is reusable storage bags. Seems like our family of four went through hundreds of plastic bags before we switched and, according to research, we did.
But why stop there?
The average family wastes $1,500 a year on uneaten food, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and more than 20 percent of our landfills are filled with rotten food, packaging and containers. The EPA warns that eliminating packaging can conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
So before you buy prepackaged, pack plastic forks or scrap food, check out these ideas for a healthier world—in and outside of your home.
Plastic utensils tend to break, which can be hazardous, and they always end up in the trash. This trash, in turn, ultimately finds its final resting spot in landfills. Bamboo utensils are not only durable, lasting 60 to 90 uses, they are natural and sustainable.
Waxed Canvas Lunch Bag
These bags may look like disposable lunch sacks, but don’t be fooled—waxed canvas lunch bags, made with organic cotton dipped in beeswax, are waterproof, hold their shape and last a lifetime.
Did you know Americans go through about 100 billion plastic sandwich bags a year, and about 10 percent of those end up in the ocean? These stats solidify a great case for making a change. Available in cloth or silicone, sandwich- and snack-size reusable bags are easy to clean and will last more than a school year of lunches.
Planning your meals at the start of the week helps cut down on food disposal. How many times have you thrown out brown bananas or a bunch of spoiled grapes? Buy what you need and eat what you buy.
Another great way to reduce food waste is repurposing dinner from the night before. A reusable thermos will keep lunches warm (or cold) and may just be a welcomed break from the daily sandwich.
Almost any food item can be used in compost including pastas and bread, fruits and veggies. If the 21.5 million tons of food waste generated in the U.S. every year were composted rather than ending up in landfills, says Vanderbilt University research instructor Lauren Woodard, “the cut in greenhouse gas emissions alone would be like taking over a million cars off the road.”
Avoid Processed Foods
Let’s be honest: Our eating habits are harming the environment. Processed food, while a convenient option, requires more energy to make and packaging to sell. Research suggests that the unhealthiest food tends to have the greatest impact.
Forget the single-serving snacks. You know the ones—cookies, chips, snack packs. Buy the regular size and fill a reusable container. You’ll eliminate unnecessary packaging, reducing household waste significantly.
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