We adore the idea of living on a cozy little farm and growing food with our own hands… but the reality is we live in a city and have to shop for most of our essentials. When it comes to sustainability, perfection is impossible but we believe in the compounding effect of many small steps in the right direction. Kitchen sustainability doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, even the smallest adjustments can have a major impact. So this week, we wanted to share a few kitchen sustainability swaps that are easy to make!
Use what you already have!
The best place to start your kitchen sustainability journey is by taking stock of what you already own. Instead of replacing all of your utensils and appliances with their more eco-friendly counterpart, use what you have until it needs to be replaced. Once an item needs replacing, that’s a great time to make the swap to something more sustainable!
Support local farmers and eat seasonally
Aside from stocking your kitchen with sustainable tools, it’s also great to be aware of how you source your food. At Better Booch, we’re all about supporting our local farmers and businesses. In fact, we got our start selling at farmer’s markets and know first-hand the impact they can have on a budding business. When you shop at a local farmer’s market, you’re supporting your community but you’re also cutting down on the emissions from shipping. It’s a win-win!
If there aren’t any farmer’s markets in your area, consider eating fruits and veggies that are in season, trying out a farmer’s box subscription, or signing up for a grocery delivery service like Imperfect Foods, whose mission is to eliminate food waste.
Explore ways to cut down food waste
According to a recent study, 80 billion pounds of food is thrown away each year in the US which is the equivalent of 1,000 Empire State Buildings. At Better Booch we work with local farmers who use our post-brew tea leaves as compost but we also like to take action at home to cut down on any food waste. Some of our favorite ways to cut down on food waste at home are:
- Freezing food that won’t be eaten right away. Just be sure to blanch any raw vegetables before freezing.
- Composting to keep food waste out of landfills. If you live in an apartment or don’t have the space to compost, Going Zero Waste has a great guide for getting started.
- One of the cornerstones of kitchen sustainability is reusing whenever possible! We like to collect our veggie scraps, store them in the freezer until we fill up a big jar, and then use that to make a stock.
Keep it fresh with proper storage
A really easy way to cut down on food waste is to practice proper produce pairing and storing. Pairing certain fruits and veggies together can actually cause some to spoil quicker, so proper storage and pairing can make a huge difference on their shelf life. Eating Well has a great chart about how produce should be stored and which fruits and vegetables can cozy up together.
And because kitchen sustainability is all about reusing whenever possible, consider cleaning and reusing jars from store bought items like pasta sauce or salsa as storage containers. We love storing fresh herbs and certain veggies in glass jars with a little bit of water, like a bouquet.
To cover the wide gamut of kitchen sustainability storage needs, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite options, for when a jar just won’t cut it:
- Stasher bags are the perfect replacement for single-use plastic freezer bags or for taking snacks on the go.
- Instead of using plastic wrap, we love to use Bee’s Wrap to store cheese or take sandwiches on a picnic.
- If you’re looking to use what you already have, then go for the classic plate-over-a-bowl method. This storage option is great for leftovers. Just add everything to a bowl and use a plate like a lid to cover the bowl and voilà!
Be selective about packaging
We adore the idea of living on a cozy little farm and growing all of our own food but the reality is we live in a city and have to shop for a lot of our essentials. When it comes to sustainability, perfection is impossible. But we believe in the compounding effect of many small steps in the right direction. Even something as simple as switching from dishwasher tablets that are individually wrapped in plastic to a powdered detergent packaged in a cardboard box can make an impact over time.
This is one of the reasons why we package our kombucha in infinitely-recyclable cans. Habitually, aluminum cans are 70% more likely to be recycled than glass. Cans also reduce the overall energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with shipping because they weigh less than glass and can be packed more efficiently. If you’re interested in learning more about the sustainability of cans we wrote a whole thing about it!
Kitchen sustainability looks different for everyone
Everyone’s kitchen sustainability journey is different, what might work for a plant-based person living the van life can look very different than what works for a family of four living in the city. So it’s important to be gentle with yourself and do what makes the most sense for your lifestyle. Nobody’s perfect, but we can strive for Better.