Finding it difficult to follow a sustainable lifestyle? We totally get you – it can harder when sustainable alternate options are lesser. Through our blog posts we want to help you make simple changes that can be easily implemented. The agriculture, meat and dairy industries are all extremely polluting and water intensive. While they are slow to make changes, we can implement some changes in our lifestyles to reduce their and our own impact on our planet. Here are some easy to follow sustainable food habits –
Reduce Food Wastage
The first step on your journey towards being more sustainable has to be to reduce food wastage. According to reports – “About 40% of the food produced in India is wasted. The Un has reported that about 190 million Indians remain undernourished. The average person in India wastes 137 grams of food every single day. That’s 0.96 kg per week or 50 kg per year. In India, 40% of the food is wasted which is equivalent to Rs 92,000 crores a year.”
Here are some ways in which you can reduce food wastage –
- Make a list before going grocery shopping based on the meals you are likely to prepare in the week. Having a list will help you avoid buying food you are not likely to consume soon.
- Only buy as much produce as you will use up in the next 4-5 days. Most produce starts going bad after that and is more likely to be tossed. According to UNEP, 50 Kg of food is wasted per person per year in Indian homes.
- Store your produce in the right away. Some produce lasts longer in the fridge, some produce does better outside the fridge. Make sure that you are storing your produce in the right away to increase it’s life and keep its nutrition locked. Use air tight containers to store cut fruits and vegetables in the fridge. Store your leafy vegetables in a paper or tea towel to increase their life. Use mesh bags to store other produce.
- Keep a check on expiry dates of grains, seasoning, condiments, baked goods, snacks etc. to ensure to use them up before they go bad.
- Store older produce in front/above newer produce to ensure they get consumed first. You can also label produce to know which was bought/cut first.
- If you think that you aren’t going to be able to use up some produce before they go bad – freeze them. Frozen fruit & green leafy vegetables can be used directly in smoothies. You can also freeze cooked food/bakery goods to reheat and eat in a few days. (you can eat frozen food till a few months after)
- Always get leftovers packed at restaurants. Even if you don’t think you will eat it, donate to someone needy/homeless. According to some reports, they generate 67 million metric tonnes of food waste per year.
- Keep your pantry organized to make sure you don’t miss out on consuming all the food in there before you buy fresh.
- Take smaller portions while serving yourself and only go for seconds if you are sure you’ll finish it all. You can always take more.
- Donate untouched/unused food to food banks or to the needy.
Reduce the Carbon Footprint Of Your Food
All our food purchases have a carbon footprint attributed to the pollution their production and logistics to reach you created. But you can choose food with lesser carbon footprint. How?
- Shop in-season produce. Out of season produce is flown in from somewhere where it is in season or they have been stored in the cold storage. Both add to the produce’s carbon footprint. Eg: Buying mangoes in winters India is unsustainable
- Shop locally grown produce. Local produce uses less transportation, packaging and storage to reach you and have lesser carbon footprint. Eg: Buying imported avocadoes, blueberries, guavas, etc.
Compost Your Food Waste
Composting is an easy way to reduce the carbon footprint of your food waste and a great sustainable habit. When food waste ends up in landfills it decomposes and generates methane – a greenhouse gas. Whereas when composted, the same waste creates much lesser methane and also gives us compost which is great for plants. You can easily compost your waste using bins at home.
Looking to buy a compost bin? Check out compost bins here.
Reduce Food Packaging Waste
Food packaging is mostly plastic and sometimes paper. Produce packaging goes directly into waste and is often not recyclable because of food contamination. If you don’t have a zero waste food store near you then the following are some steps that you can take –
- Buy packaging free produce from local vendors in your reusable shopping bag
- Buy packaging free baked goods and snacks from local bakeries in tiffin boxes you take from home
- Pick up takeaway from restaurants in your tiffin boxes
If you still end up buying packaged food, you can make eco-bricks after cleaning the food packets and donate them. (Learn more here.) You can also send them into recyclers or NGO’s that recycle or reuse them. You can also DIY them into fun things for around the house.
Reduce Meat & Dairy Consumption
We left the most unpopular suggestion for last. The meat & dairy industries are both extremely polluting. Meat and dairy specifically accounts for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Some other facts:
- Livestock takes up nearly 80% of global agricultural land, yet produces less than 20% of the world’s supply of calories.
- World hunger could be solved to an extent grains grown for cattle feed were instead used to feed more people. (It would be far easier to feed nine billion people by 2050 if more of the crops we grew ended up in human stomachs. Today only 55 percent of the world’s crop calories feed people directly; the rest are fed to livestock (about 36 percent) or turned into biofuels and industrial products (roughly 9 percent).)
We know it is hard to quit on meat and dairy and that is not our suggestion. If everyone reduced their consumption by 50% i.e. consuming these products on alternate days – the impact would be huge.
Here were our easy tips to be more sustainable in your food habits. It takes some time to inculcate them but keep trying.
Do you have any sustainable food tips? Will you join us in our journey to be more sustainable?
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