Here are our 5 top tips to buying food in a sustainable way :
Eating a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint, since eating animal products uses huge amounts of natural resources. Even if you don’t commit to going vegan 100% of the time, eating at least one plant-based meal a day will help you to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and methane that’s pumped into the atmosphere, it will help cut down the amount of freshwater resources used, it will help save our oceans, our forests, and save a lot of species from going extinct.
Everyday waste has a huge impact on the natural environment as large amounts of harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from landfill sites. One way to help reduce your waste is by cutting down the amount of plastic and packaged goods you buy and make sure to recycle as much as possible. Stop buying single use plastics, take your own reusable bottle, cutlery and containers with you. Another simple way is to compost; keep all your food scraps from fruits and vegetables and make your own compost pile! Whether you live in the countryside or in a city you can find a solution to compost – check with your local council!
Focusing on eating whole plant foods and reducing the amount of processed foods you buy is a great way to reduce your waste. Visiting your local bulk food store is one way to do so. Bring your own containers, such as glass jars, cotton bags, metal tiffins, cardboard boxes and stock up on your favourite items. A lot of supermarkets now have a bulk/zero waste section. By eliminating the need for wasteful packaging that would inevitably end up in landfill, buying in bulk helps to reduce your waste.
Reduce the distance your food has to travel to get to you, and you’ll also reduce your CO2 emissions. There are many ways to do this; you can support your local farmer’s market, find a local CSA farm to buy directly from, or start growing your own food in your garden or at an allotment. Buying locally can also be better for your health as produce is able to ripen naturally and therefore will contain more nutrients. Often buying locally also means you have more control over how it’s grown, limiting the use of pesticides and focusing on organic and non-sprayed produce!
Alongside eating locally, buying seasonally is equally important. Eating strawberries in the middle of the winter is not sustainable because either the strawberries have had to travel very far to come to you, or have been grown nearby but indoors using huge amounts of energy. Learning what is seasonal to you means having a better connection with your food and supporting the natural cycle of production which is more ecological and respectful of the environment.