By Adrienne Suhm
- Bring reusable bags to the store. You may already use large reusable totes as a replacement for disposable paper or plastic grocery bags, but smaller shopping bags (think: the tote you picked up during your last shopping trip to Lululemon or Urban Outfitters) can be reused for smaller trips to carry fresh produce or cleaning products.
- Buy products in bulk. We don’t mean to suggest that you should buy food in excess, because it will ultimately result in more waste, but aim to buy frequently eaten products in large quantities to reduce packaging. For example, you can easily store a large container of cereal or pasta without the contents perishing. Better yet, if your grocery store has a “self-serve” aisle, you can portion out grains, legumes, or nuts into a reusable bag for yourself.
- Make a stock. Thinking of throwing away those meat and vegetable scraps? Instead, mix them into an easy stock. Add your scraps to a pot with some spices – we recommend bruised or overripe vegetables, carrot and potato skins, celery tops, and meat scraps, a bay leaf, and table spoon of peppercorns – cover with filtered water, simmer for a few hours, drain, and use immediately or store in the fridge for up to a week for use in future meals.
- Multipurpose produce. More often than not, your leftover produce can be planted to create (surprise!) more fruits and veggies. Herbs are especially quick to grow, but celery, carrots, potatoes, and many other produce items can also be planted from your kitchen.
- If all else fails, compost. Composting may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually never been easier (or more visually appealing) with small countertop compost containers like this one. You can even buy biodegradable bags to store the waste. Once you’ve filled the container, its contents can be dumped right into the outdoor compost or yard waste bin for trash pickup day.