Assortment of jars, vegetables, and a tote bag

Photo courtesy of @doondevil/Twenty20

As the no-plastic movement takes hold (some of our favorite cafés recently committed to banning single-use cups and straws), and fast-casual food chains (any other Dig Inn fans here??) commit to supporting independent farmers and using local, seasonal produce, reducing food-related waste is finally becoming part of the wider conversation. 

Want to know how you can join the momentum and make an impact through your everyday choices? Read on…

Do It Yourself 

Reducing food waste starts with reducing packaging,” says Annie Novak, urban farmer and author of The Rooftop Growing Guide. Buy bulk, purchase produce at a farmers market, and be aware of those easy-to-make pre-made items you may be buying. Anything you can make yourself at home quickly and easily, like granola, cereal, salad dressing, sauces, and even canned goods, pickled produce, and simple cheeses, will immediately lighten your waste stream. I try to batch-make a bunch of food a couple of times a month. I keep a staple set of ingredients in my pantry, like oils, vinegars, nuts and grains, to compliment the fresh produce I bring into the house a few times a week.” 

Composting is Caring 

It’s a simple psychological trick, but I have a very small wastebasket in my kitchen,” says Novak. Compost goes in the freezer until I have time to take it to a composting facility. And I have a separate bowl in the freezer for scraps I can turn into stock when I have time. I also have a big paper and metal recycling bin. But my actual trashcan is teeny-tiny. I probably take out the trash once a week.” 

If you’re ready to go to the next level, Novak recommends worm-based composting, aka vermicomposting. It’s great for people in apartments or homes without a yard. It’s an ecosystem, so you may have moments with fruit fly invasions. But troubleshooting is easy, and you’ll keep food out of your trashcan. The bacteria in a worm bin produces sweet-smelling gases; the bacteria that populate the relatively oxygen-free confines of a trash bag are the ones that off-gas stinky smells.” 

Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.