Need some new ways to reduce your carbon impact? How about your food?! You can definitely make a difference and improve the environment simply by changing the way you eat. Try any of these seven ways to reduce your carbon impact through food.
1. Buy Organic
Do you know how many tons of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals are used just in growing crops and raising livestock? Conventional farming techniques use a ton of chemicals that can destroy the environment and contribute to carbon levels. Use your dollar as your vote by investing in organic foods. Remember, not every food you consume needs to be organic—just do what you can! This is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon impact with food.
2. Buy Local
Food that’s shipped from across the country uses much more fossil fuels and gasoline than foods purchased within a 100 mile radius from where you live. If you have the time and resources, consider getting food from a farmers market. Look for words like ‘local’ or ‘homegrown’ to indicate the food is from nearby. Keep in the mind that there’s nothing more local than your own backyard. Growing and maintaining a small veggie and fruit garden is a great way to reduce your carbon impact!
3. Buy Whole Foods over Processed
Instead of apple sauce, opt for the apple. Instead of chemical-ridden frozen burger patties, make them yourself out of ground beef. Processed foods use a ton of carbon to create all the nasty chemicals they use to enhance flavor/taste and increase a product’s shelf life. Think of it this way—the more processes a product has undergone, the more energy has been used on that food. Skip the fake additives altogether and opt for whole, unprocessed foods instead.
4. Avoid Foods with a Ton of Packaging
Your carbon impact even comes down to the kinds of food packaging you invest in. I always tell clients to avoid foods that use a ton of cardboard or plastic packaging. This is another form of wasting resources! Do you really need that pre-portioned dinner of pasta and cheese that’s most likely loaded with empty calories and fat? In other words, not only is that food bad for your body, it’s bad for the environment.
5. Cook at Home Instead of Eating out
When you eat out at a restaurant, most of the time you’re supporting the use of fossil fuels that have been used to help food travel for hundreds of miles before it reaches its destination. These foods are also loaded with chemicals that, again, use a ton of energy to produce. Save your money and your health by staying in instead of ordering out.
6. Use Glass or Reusable Containers for Leftovers Instead of Plastic or Paper
Throwing away a paper bag for lunch or an individually wrapped package of cookies each day is simply unneeded waste. Invest in high-quality reusable containers. Opt for glass over plastic Tupperware and try a reusable lunch box for the office instead. It’s little changes like this that really add up and can save the planet.
7. Make Compost with Leftover Food Scraps
Are you throwing vegetable peels, apple cores, and even tea bags in the trash? Use leftover food scraps to make your own natural, organic compost. Compost is basically an organic material that can be added to soil to facilitate growth. It’s great for any garden or outdoor space. There are plenty of online tutorials that can teach you about composting and its beneficial effect on the environment. Mind you, all of this work can be done with leftover fruit and veggie scraps!
You probably had no idea how much of a carbon impact your food and eating habits have on the environment. Making little changes here and there can actually have an enormous impact on the environment. What changes have you made in your eating habits to protect the environment?