Most of us probably eat, on average, about three times a day. Factor in the time spent shopping for food, and there is a big chunk of our lives that can be dedicated to sustainable living. And while eating our greens can do wonders for our health, eating green can do plenty to aid the health of the planet. February 10th-16th is Go Green Week, a time when people all over the country will be continuing in their efforts to opt for greener alternatives. By making just a few tweaks to the way we eat, we can not only benefit out bodies but the planet too.
The good news? Up to 73% of packaging in England can be recycled. The bad news? There are still a great deal of unsustainable materials that end up in landfills. This is not only very un-eco, but they can be a great expense to dispose of. According to Gogreenpackaging.com, 70% of primary packaging is used for food and drink. So one way in which you can help the environment is through being a conscientious shopper and selecting products with minimal packaging. This might mean buying your fruit and veggies loose, choosing products that are made with recyclable packaging, and buying refills for items like washing powder. Drinking water from the tap will also help to minimise the millions of tons of plastic used to manufacture and transport those plastic water bottles.
The average family uses 60 bags in four trips to the supermarket. With every plastic bag taking up to 1000 years to break down, using an environmentally friendly reusable bag when you go shopping is just one way in which you can do your bit for Mother Earth. Globally it is estimated that 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds die every year from ingesting indigestible plastic or becoming entangled in marine debris such as carrier bags. Lots of online retailers sell reusable shopping bags, but if you’re feeling a little more creative, why not try making your own? Just remember to wash your bag after each use to avoid any cross-contamination.
Every year, we consume about 250,000,000 tonnes of meat worldwide, with the United States eating more meat per capita than almost any other country on the planet. This heavy consumption of meat is not only having ill effects on the health of our population, but it is also damaging to the the environment. If going meat free seems a mean feat, why not try your hand at demitarianism and cut down on your meat intake.
By eating produce that is in season and which is locally grown you are one step close to reducing your carbon footprint. Not only does eating food that’s grown closer to home cut down on food miles, it also means that you are more likely to be eating produce that is fresher, tastier and more nutritious. And when it comes to getting more nutrients from your food, eating fresh produce in its primary state is a great way to boost their bioavailability.
About 30-40% of global food production is lost or wasted annually, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. By being conscientious and exercising control over your portion sizes – only making as much as you need, you’ll be helping to reduce the 18 million tonnes of food that ends up in landfill sites in the UK. If you do end up cooking more than you can chew, don’t throw it away. Instead you can try creating a new meal from the leftovers.
Angie is our resident features writer on location in London, specialising in festivals, food and nutrition, and with a keen interest in ethical fashion.