One of the biggest problems with the way that we buy and sell food these days is the sheer amount of wasted packaging that we have to use and throw away. All too often, you buy something like a box of cookies, and open it up to find 10 cookies inside, each one packaged individually, for seemingly no good reason. And although most of us hate to use more plastic and generate more waste, it can be hard to come up with a good, more eco-friendly alternative. Well, the good news is that there are real alternatives that, while often not perfect, can help you to do your part towards reducing your own carbon footprint.
Choose Products Wisely
The process of making your food storage decisions more environmentally friendly start right there in the store. Much good can be done simply by choosing the right products. Instead of choosing apples that are wrapped up in a plastic bag, hand pick some and store them in your own reusable cloth bag. The same goes for oranges and that horrible synthetic plastic netting. But it is not just produce decisions that can affect your carbon footprint. Try to pick eco-friendly products whose manufacturers make a point of using only the best, greenest methods of production and recycled packaging. Encourage more companies to do the same by only giving these eco-friendly companies your business.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is also a great way to do your part for the environment. And that doesn’t mean that you just buy 20 boxes of Mac and Cheese instead of just four. It means buying from the large bins at places such as WinCo, and storing them in your own reusable containers. It also means keeping leftovers for later, and storing them in eco-friendly containers. Glass, ceramic, and stainless steel containers are the best for both the environment and your general health.
Canning is not only a great way to preserve leftovers and other foods that you buy in bulk, but it is a good way to store food that you can grow and make yourself—completely eliminating the need to use mass produced goods that waste materials and are made in ozone-damaging factories.
Plastic is the Earth’s number one enemy . . . well, it’s up there at least! So all of those plastic bags that you go through at the grocery store—one for beef, a separate one for chicken, a bag inside another bag for frozen items—are doing a lot of harm to the environment. And eliminating them altogether can do a lot of good. Recycled paper bags are good, reusable cloth bags are better. Try to eliminate all of that plastic altogether by using your own reusable cloth grocery bags every time you shop. If you must use plastic bags, make sure that you recycle them, either by reusing them yourself next time you shop or as trash bags, or else by giving them back to the store, using the provided bins.
Reuse and Recycle
Whenever you are in a situation where there is absolutely no choice other than to use products in mass-produced and non-eco friendly packaging, choose items that you know you can use again. Make use of packaging wherever you can, and anything that you cannot reuse, recycle it by taking it to your nearest recycling center. There is time for us to save this earth yet, so start doing your part!
Besides being a freelance writer, Lee Flynn is an outdoor junky and food storage enthusiast.