9 ways to be more eco-friendly with your food and groceries
Spend less and benefit mother nature with these tips from UNICEF and Austrian Development Agency
Reduce your meat consumption and try plant-based options
Interchanging between beef and protein-rich plant options is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint! If people around the world made one change in their diet by substituting beef with other sources of protein (legumes, nuts, seeds, soy, etc), global food-related greenhouse gas emissions would fall by 25%.
Crop and livestock cultivation contributes to 24% of the world’s carbon emissions, that’s 12 times more than air travel! Buying locally grown food and consuming less meat is one of the biggest ways to reduce your carbon footprint, or “foodprint". Start small and try to go meatless one day a week; get creative and experiment with new recipes! Here's some ideas for plant-based recipes.
Buy your cheese local
Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns 3 times more money to your local economy than one dollar spent at a chain store!
Local cheese is also fresher than cheese that has to be packaged and distributed thousands of miles across the world. In addition, raw grass-fed cheese is an abundant source of highly bioavailable calcium and magnesium, with vitamins A, D3, and K2. Check out these 5 benefits of including cheese in your diet.
Freeze your vegetable scraps and cook homemade stock
Chances are, when you cook with fresh produce, you are left with scraps that end up in the trash which will later release ethylene and methane gas when in the landfill. If you cannot compost your food scraps, avoid food waste by saving vegetable scraps in a container and keep in your freezer.
Almost any mild-tasting vegetable will work, but the most basic and traditional vegetables are onions, celery, and carrots. When the container is just about full, you are ready to make the stock. If you haven't washed the vegetables before freezing them, give them a rinse before using. See how to make vegetable broth with kitchen scraps.
Store fresh produce correctly to increase their shelf life
Many fruits give off natural gases (ethylene gas) which makes other nearby produce ripen faster. Store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves, and separate them from other fruits and vegetables. Wait to wash berries until they are ready to be consumed to prevent mold. Surplus produce can be frozen, pickled, or made into jams! How to pickle vegetables at home
Buy produce locally and in-season
Season fruits and vegetables reduce the load on the environment and are known to be more environment-friendly and also healthier! When you choose foods that are produced locally and in season, it reduces the demand for out of season produce. This further supports more local produce and local farming in your area - which means less transportation, less refrigeration, less greenhouse gases, and also less irradiation of produce. Learn more about how to shop food according to season.
Switch to natural chewing gums or mints
Chewing gum is the biggest litter issue right behind cigarette butts! Gum is not biodegradable! The main ingredient is polyisobutylene, a synthetic rubber derived from crude oil. Try switching to chill-based gum, a natural gum derived from the chicozapote tree. Or, try switching to mints! Both options have the same effect on your breath, but reduce the impact on the planet!
Choose weird or imperfect fruits and vegetables
Reduce food waste and choose imperfect looking foods, they taste the same! One-third of the food produced and packaged for human consumption is wasted. Fruits and vegetables have the highest wastage rates of any food. Stores toss “ugly” produce because most consumers don’t buy produce that is not perfectly shaped. SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction
Grow your food scraps
The most common food scraps, banana peels, and orange rinds take up to 2 years to decompose!
Food scraps are often tossed away in nature with the excuse that they are biodegradable. A more effective use of these scraps is composting or growing them in your own home. Leafy scraps can grow in water on a sunny indoor window all year-round. More tips on growing food scraps
You can still eat food after the Best Before date
The “Best Before” or “Use By” date is about quality, not safety – food is still safe to eat after the date but might not be optimal texture and flavor. Reduce food waste by knowing the difference between safe to eat and optimal eating windows. Check out this helpful guide to food storage!
Let's go green and save water, energy, paper, use less plastic and improve air quality.