Our life in the kitchen – cooking, storing our food, and cleaning up – presents many opportunities to go green. Here are a few easy ways to go green in the kitchen and have a positive impact on the environment.
- Eat Local
- Make Waste-Conscious Purchases
Whether its apples from China, Beef from Australia, or Bananas from South America, you may notice that plenty of food in grocery stores seem to come from half way around the world. It takes a tremendous amount of resources to transport food such great distances. As Canadians, many of us are lucky to have exceptional locally produced food available to us at the grocery store. The availability of locally produced food differs by season, so it is important to be conscious of seasonality when making an effort to buy locally produced food.
This means minimizing the amount of food and packaging that gets thrown in the garbage. Take packaging into account when making purchasing decisions at the grocery store. Opt for fresh unpacked produce, and bring your own reusable bags. Plastic bags are one of the biggest culprits in the over-production of household solid waste.
Next, make sure to be thoughtful about the amount of food you’re buying. This will reduce the amount of food waste you produce, saving environmental resources and your wallet in the process. Plan your meals out on paper or in your head, and be sure to buy only the food necessary to cook those meals. Also, try making more frequent trips to the grocery store, buying only what is needed for the following few days. This will make it easier to estimate how much food is needed, reducing waste.
Inevitably, you will be left with some food scraps. These scraps – particularly from produce – make ideal compost.
Produce comes from soil. It’s impossible to grow healthy produce without healthy soil. Composting is an exceptional way to increase the health of soil, whether by adding your compost to your backyard garden or filling your Green Bin so your valuable food waste can reenter the food-production ecosystem.
Composting ‘closes the loop’, ensuring that the inedible parts of our food nourish the soil, allowing more healthy food to be produced, rather than remaining unproductive in a land-fill.
Many municipalities in Canada are finally beginning to facilitate the effective recycling of household waste, allowing you to separate your glass, paper, and plastic for optimal efficiency.