This month introduces part three of eco-etiquette, which focuses on food. Here are five things you can do — if you can do all of them that’s awesome, but each of them helps!
•Compost. Municipal solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of methane emissions caused by humans in the United States — about 15.1 of these emissions in 2018. And food scraps are a big part of that because they don’t actually decompose in landfills! But you can reduce your contribution to this by composting them. As a bonus, you get natural soil that is great for growing healthy plants! Although, you should be careful — most of the packaging that says it’s compostable can’t decompose in your backyard but has to be put in your city’s compost bin.
•Buy food with less packaging — better than recycling is not to use extra resources at all! Buy bulk items with reusable packaging as much as possible, and make sure to reuse grocery bags and produce bags. (This is harder now, of course, but there are still ways to reuse packaging.)
•Buy organic, locally grown, and vegan food whenever possible. Organic farming avoids the use of GMOs, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and locally grown food has some of these benefits as well as not requiring transport. Vegan food is ideal, since meat farming produces many more greenhouse gasses and the animals are often raised in terrible conditions (if you can’t eat vegan, you can still look for Certified Humane, grassfed, and pasture-raised labels). Additionally, going beyond environmental impact, you can look for a Fair Trade label.
•Conserve. Don’t buy food that you might not eat, and if you are the one to cook, try meal planning so that you know exactly what you need. That way, you don’t buy a bunch of food that will just end up going bad. You will save money and stop perfectly good food from going to waste! You can also get a share box from ImperfectFoods.com, in which you will get food that would otherwise have been thrown away but is perfectly edible!
Fact of the month: In the US we waste 40% of all our food! And most of that food doesn’t even make it to the shelves! All fruits and vegetables have “beauty standards,” and a lot of food doesn’t look perfect enough to be sold, so it’s thrown away. Just a couple of examples are that bananas have to be a certain length, and bell peppers have to stand up — for them to be sold!
And finally, we will be posting some easy, eco-friendly recipes on this website!