Whether you are looking to cook more sustainably or create a more sustainable kitchen, there are other things you can do both inside and outside the kitchen to help protect our planet. Here are ten tips on how you can create a more sustainable lifestyle.
#1 Avoid Big Agriculture
Big agriculture, also referred to as “Big Ag,” describes farms owned and controlled by large corporations. These companies ultimately have control over most aspects of the farming process and ultimately the quality of the final product. Instead of purchasing foods from large brands and companies, focus on supporting small family farms and local brands found in your community.
#2 Banish Plastic from the Kitchen
When it comes to cooking and baking, elevate your kitchen utensils from plastic to something more sustainable like bamboo. Don’t forget all of those leftover containers either. Instead of repurposing restaurant to-go containers or plastic tupperware, recycle them and store your delicious leftovers in reusable glassware. You can also swap your single-use plastic straws for reusable metal ones.
#3 Buy in Bulk
Instead of buying bulky bags and oversized plastic containers of your favorite foods like coffee beans, dried fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains, purchase them in bulk. Bring your own reusable containers from home and head straight to the self serve section of your natural grocery store then grab a scoop and fill up. By bringing your own reusable containers, you are essentially eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging in your home.
Tip: When buying in bulk, it’s important to note the tare weight of your containers or bags, which is the weight of the bag or container when it’s empty. Upon check out, the cashier should deduct the tare weight so you only pay for the weight of the products themselves and not the weight of your bag or container.
If you can’t find a way to repurpose your food scraps in your favorite recipes, place them in a compost pile instead. If you don’t have a compost pile, start one in your backyard garden or create one inside with one of these nifty compost jars.
#5 Find a Reusable Water Bottle
Recycle those plastic water bottles and find a reusable water bottle instead. Use it for your morning tea or coffee, your afternoon juice or smoothie. Reusable water bottles, glass jars and mason jars can be used for more than just water, so get creative.
#6 Hit the Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s market foods usually don’t have any extra packaging, just fresh, local and seasonal produce, so swing by your local farmers market and see what gems you can find. Looking for a farmer’s market in your local community? Check out the USDA National Farmers Market Directory.
#7 Opt for Cloth Napkins
Stop saving the cloth napkins for holidays and special occasions and consider using them all year long. Abandon single use paper napkins and towels and find fun colors and patterns to compliment your personal style for your next backyard BBQ or family gathering.
Tip: Entertaining on a budget? Check out these hosting tips.
When you purchase your favorite foods, be sure to recycle the packaging. Flatten cardboard boxes and place them in your home’s recycle bin. See our Discover Blog for ideas on how to re-purpose styrofoam boxes.
#9 Shop Secondhand
Whether you are looking for artwork for your living space, kitchen supplies or a statement piece to add to your wardrobe, consider shopping at secondhand shops like your local community consignment shop or Goodwill. Supporting the secondhand market instead of purchasing new materials keeps them in use for longer. Plus, finding new treasures is always a fun adventure.
#10 Upgrade Grocery Bags and Produce Bags
Ditch plastic grocery bags and swap them out for reusable canvas bags and while you’re at it, avoid using plastic produce bags and use your own reusable mesh produce bags. Be sure to hang them by your front door or toss them in your car so you always remember to use them whenever you go grocery shopping or run weekend errands.
Creating a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply start looking for ways you can begin making small changes in your life in order to create a healthier home and a healthier planet.