Anjali Bakaya is sharing her 5 top tips on how to rethink our food style and opt for a more sustainable lifestyle.
As a New Yorker, a day around the city will take you through a myriad of scenery, people and the smell of trash lined sidewalks. If at any point you have paid attention- it’s mostly plastic and paper waste. If you look further closely- take our word for it- it’s waste related to food items.
The World Economic forum warns that by 2050, there will likely be more plastic & packaging waste in the ocean than fish by weight. EPA estimated that upto 25% of residential waste comes from food packaging. Furthermore, food plus packaging — some, though not all, of which is used to contain food — make up about 45% of all the materials in U.S. landfills.
We’ve all heard of the word ‘style’ and it’s adaptation to fashion, life, travel etc.and their serious implications on the environment.
This brings us to think about ‘food-style’. How can we change our food style in order to become eco-friendly?
1. Do not buy pre-packaged items (unless absolutely necessary)
As naive as it may sound- it’s not only the easiest but also the healthiest step for us and our environment. In the word’s of my grandmother ‘whatever needs labeling is generally not healthy for you anyway’. Buy whole foods that come with zero packaging. Visit farmers markets for your local produce, dairy, meats and even snacks which come in zero to minimal packaging, and from farms vs factories. Buy fresh whole fruits and vegetables vs packaged. Think whole tomatoes and fish vs canned. Not only are they healthy and good looking but taste better as well.
2. Bring your own bags to the grocers.
Save not only all the plastic but also paper bags which may be recyclable but critical natural resources like water and trees are part of the production process. We think cute totes make you look good and environment-friendly.
3. Shop brands that are committed to sustainable packaging practices.
Like a brand ketchup? A simple google search or simply reading the packaging label indicates what brands are friends with our environment. Email the brand about it, if you’re feeling a little enraged that they are not environmentally conscious.
4. Rethink the take out.
While it’s understandable to explore restaurants and cuisines from the comfort of your couch when you feel a little lazy or adventurous; we must remember a lot of packaging is involved. Styrofoam and plastic are toxic not just to the environment but to your endocrine system as well. Scientific studies indicate that plastic and styrofoam are high in xenoestrogens which lead to various health problems and yes, cancer too. Depending on distance, weather etc- additional packaging is used to secure your food in take outs and deliveries. Not to forget the extra or unnecessary condiments and cutlery that you may not use and toss in trash.
4. Don’t forget the trash liners, water bottles, snacks.
Yes, these add up quickly. Line your trash bins with biodegradable liners or simply rinse them upon emptying. Moreover, make and donate your own compost. Carry your own reusable water bottles. Try and make your own easy and healthy carry on snacks in reusable containers and bags instead of store bought items.
5. Don’t just reuse and recycle. But reduce.
Our food style cannot stop at reusing and recycling since both involve resources in the process. Effort must be made instead to reduce the consumption of overall plastic and paper packaging involved with food.