By: Maria Casey
By Kira Cook
Roughly 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost. That's 1.3B TONS! Yet, world hunger is on the rise. What can you do about? A lot actually. The access we have today to composting and plastic alternatives can make this easy for all of us. More sustainable practices in what sustains us (food!) can change the world. Taking these 5 easy steps below is a great place to start.
One easy way to cut down on consumption of gratuitous plastic, styrofoam, and paper waste is by disrupting the to-go container economy. Just say no (and go) with the help of to-go containers that are always clean and ready in your car for when you go out to eat. BYOTGC: Bring Your Own To Go Container! A cumbersome acronym, to be sure, but it gets the job done. We love the sleekness of Onyx stainless steel food containers:
Depending on where you live, you can also sign up for a service that gives you reusable take out containers like Deliver Zero. Shop from the restaurants on their site, get your food, give it back to the delivery person in your next order. Simple!
It’s kind of wild, when you stop to think about it. Millions of grocery stores around the world have just been arbitrarily offering single-use plastic bags to wrap our produce in, and for what? So the produce doesn’t touch other items in the cart? Obviously, in some situations, you need to gather items together, and prolong its shelf life in a bag, which is where reusable produce and bulk bin bags come into play. Made of 100% cotton and in the case of EcoBags, made in accordance with fair wage and fair labor standards for environmental and social responsibility. Grab these sustainable bags from Eco Bags:
A major step on the way to a zero-waste (or at least less-waste) lifestyle is a compost bin. Did you know it can take an orange peel up to 6 months to decompose? And a banana peel can take up to 2 years, depending on the circumstances! Instead of tossing out those broccoli stalks you never got around to preparing and that rotten fruit you never got around to eating, compost it. There are many fashionable, minimalist, and sleek options for compost bins nowadays, and many come with an air filtration system to cut down on odor, so there’s really no excuse. There’s this sleek one, which would go with most kitchen décor:
If you want to step it up a notch, harken back to everyone’s favorite Dumb & Dumber scene and brag about your worm farm with this Living Composter from Uncommon Goods. Vermiculture is similar to composting but uses earthworms to help accelerate the process and create a nutrient-rich fertilizer called worm castings. Worm castings are rich in the microbes and bacillus that help to make healthy soil - perhaps the most important component in an organic garden. Unlike most other worm composters, this one not only looks beautiful but promises an odorless experience to boot.
Or this Hot Frog Living Composter:
If worms aren't your thing, you can still have a super effective composting system with the traditional tumbler. This steel one from Jora is our favorite:
Did you know that you basically don’t ever need to buy paper towels again? Did homesteaders of yore have endless rolls of disposable towels on hand for cleaning up their mouths and messes? Nay, nay, nay. They used cloth towels, which leads to zero waste other than a few more small napkins in the weekly laundry. Next time you go to grab a square off of that paper towel roll, think twice and grab an absorbent linen or organic cotton towels made ethically right here in the U.S.
Long gone are the days of arbitrarily Saran wrapping everything in sight. “Cling” wrap is not recyclable, so it will be just clinging to a distant landfill for decades. Rather than contributing to that sorry sight, try Beeswax wrap instead. Natural, reusable, and toxin-free, Beeswax wrap are made of biodegradable materials such as unbleached cotton, natural beeswax, Jojoba oil, coconut oil, and tree resin. Such a simple, cost-effective, and sustainable way to prolong the life of food that you’ve made and want to enjoy again. That’s a double win for double anti-waste.