Food is personal. Every time we shop or sit down for a meal, we make a decision based on our cravings, our health, our wallet, our time, and even our environment. There is a lot to think about when trying to be a conscious consumer, but stocking your pantry with the environment in mind is a great way to get started. Here a few ways that you can start to bring sustainability into your pantry, and remember, big change starts with just a few simple tweaks.
Reduce Your Food Waste
One third of our food supply goes to waste every day. There are so many small ways that you can reduce your food waste, and it all starts before you even go to the grocery store.
By planning your meals ahead of time and writing a grocery list, you not only save money, but also end up buying only what you know you’ll eat.
Become best friends with your freezer
Getting sick of that vat of soup you made on Sunday? Freeze it! From kitchen scraps to leftovers, your freezer is your best friend when it comes to reducing food waste.
Turn your food to soil
Signing up for a curbside composting service keeps those food scraps out of sight and out of mind without them ending up in a landfill. Some composting companies even return those scraps back to you in the form of fresh soil for your garden.
Reuse your scraps
Homemade vegetable stock is one of the easiest and most useful pantry items you can make. You can freeze everything from carrot tops to cauliflower cores to make a hearty stock out of later. And those scallion roots or lettuce hearts? Just pop them in a container with water under a sunny window and watch them regrow in no time.
Eat Ugly Food
Those two-legged carrots and pock-marked zucchini are just as delicious as their more pristine comrades. When you’re shopping for produce, give a little TLC to the “ugly” fruits and veggies so they don’t end up getting tossed in the trash. You may even save some money if you shop in the right places.
Eat Upcycled Food
Upcycled foods are those that are reused or reclaimed in a way that transforms them into a higher value product. Our Seed’nola is made from the double-baked edges of our tray-baked Seed Bars so there is less food in the trash and more in our bellies.
Americans generate more than 250 million tons of waste every year, about a third of which is recycled. Knowing what can be recycled and reducing your consumption of waste in the first place are two great ways to keep plastic out of the environment.
You can reduce waste by buying foods with as little packaging as possible and recycling or reusing the packaging you do use. If allergies are not a concern, find a store near you with a killer bulk foods sections and bring your own containers to load up. Learn about recycling your 88 Acres packaging.
Spring cleaning is the ultimate occasion for replacing all your single-use and disposable food storage with reusable containers like glass or metal. Shop with reusable grocery bags that always live in your car or by the door and reuse food containers like 88 Acres Seed Butter jars to store and transport your food. Hard core environmentalists, feel free to show us all up by reusing ziploc bags: just rinse and hang-dry them after use.
Cook Bulk Meals
Households are the biggest energy users of any other sector in the food supply chain--more than transportation, retail, and farming.
One way to reduce your energy use is to cook meals in bulk so you can use less energy, less often. Yet another great reason to start prepping your meals ahead of time!
Transportation accounts for roughly 12% of energy use in the food supply, with food being shipped all over the country and the world before it reaches your grocery store. You can reduce the carbon footprint of your pantry by buying from local sources. Subscribe to a CSA near you to support local farmers and reduce your food miles. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by buying food directly from the companies who make them. Buying direct on our website cuts out the middlemen by bringing our 88 Acres treats directly from our bakery to your door.
Eating with the seasons reduces the need for the high energy demands of cold storage and transportation. Eating seasonally also adds variety to your meals so you don’t suffer from flavor fatigue.
Every food in your pantry has its own unique impact on the environment. Some are low water users while others produce fewer emissions or even remove carbon from the atmosphere. One place to start is by replacing your nuts with seeds to lower the water footprint of your pantry. Getting more protein from legumes and less from meat is a significant way to not only reduce the carbon footprint of your pantry but also actively remove carbon from the atmosphere. Legumes like beans and peas help fortify our farms’ soils.
Addressing the sustainability of your pantry with less consumption and waste is a powerful way to make a positive impact on the health of our planet. One plastic bag or seed or CSA subscription at a time helps to fuel a more sustainable world. So go forth and conquer that pantry!