Zero Waste

There are many simple habits you can incorporate into your daily life that will reduce waste and leave a lasting, positive effect on the environment.

Why it’s important to reduce waste

According to current data from the EPA, the average American produces roughly 4.9 pounds of trash per day. Considering the amount of hazardous toxins and greenhouse gasses that landfills and incinerators emit in order to dispose of waste, it’s easy to see how reducing garbage, even on a microscale, can make a big difference.

When you find ways to reduce waste at home, you will likely see a decrease in your everyday living costs as well.

So, without further ado, here are 10 ways to reduce waste at home.

Browse the bulk foods aisle

Buying in bulk cuts back on food waste by allowing you to control the amount of product you bring home at one time. It also minimizes the amount of packaging you consume.

Stop by and check out our large bulk food section, stocked with many local products. Pick up conventional as well as organic dry goods and ingredients like grains, flours, quinoa, pasta, granola, cereal, rice, herbs and spices. Our bulk section is also where you can get freshly ground nut butters, local honey, olive oil and more liquid provisions for the kitchen.

Buy local produce

Local produce is fresher, more nutritious, and grown more sustainably than fruits and veggies that come from large corporate chains. Local producers often generate less waste and they’re more likely to use eco-friendly packaging materials. Supporting local farmers helps cultivate a stronger food community too, and puts dollars back into the local economy. Buying local produce from Market of Choice supports Oregon farmers, and it’s as easy as looking for the Dig Local icons on the produce shelf.

Don’t pass over ugly fruits and veggies

Take a chance on the not-so-shiny apple, or blemished squash. Keeping an open mind to imperfect produce helps to prevent a lot of food waste. Most of the time, it tastes just as great as its perfect-looking counterpart, too.

While you’re saving misfit produce from certain destruction, pick up a well-ripened banana to make smoothies, banana bread, or Gonanas Banana Bread Pancakes recipe too.

Use up the entire produce

There is a lot of food value to onion tops, fennel stems and fronds, and produce skins. Even carrot tops can be turned into a delicious pesto sauce. Use citrus peels to make marmalade, or zest them over savory or sweet dishes and in cocktails. Use onion tops to add color and flavor to sauces and roasted meats. Try sautéing fennel stems and fronds along with spring leeks and olive oil and use them to garnish a fish filet.

Reusable bags for all of your shopping

Bringing your own reusable grocery bags and totes to the store is a great way to reduce plastic and paper waste. It can save you a few nickels too, literally. Oregon grocers charge a five-cent fee for paper bags, which can really add up over time.

Get in the habit of keeping cloth bags in your car so you always have them available if you choose to stop by the grocery store or farmers market.

Having a quality tote that fits your unique personality makes remembering your reusable bag, a no-brainer. Stop by our Home & Gift department and pick up a reversible tote from Cognitive Surplus. Made sustainably with recycled canvas, these bags minimize impact on the environment.

Try bar soaps, shampoos and conditioners

You’ve likely seen these bars around our Whole Health department. Maybe you’ve even been a little bit curious about trying them. Bars are concentrated and last longer than bottled products, so they leave little to no waste behind, and you’ll save money along the way.

We like herbal shampoo bars from Moon Valley Organics. They’re paraben and synthetic free and packed with beneficial herbs and essential oils. Spinster Sisters Co. also makes great plant-based shampoos, conditioners, scrubs, and even deodorant bars. Wild Carrot Herbals is another favorite for natural body wash in a bar, and Silver Falls Sustainability Co. makes vegan, handcrafted soaps in Oregon.

Choose local, humanely raised meat

The meat industry is known for its environmentally destructive farming practices. And, long distance transportation adds another layer to the carbon footprint of the meat industry. The good news is, things are rapidly changing, resulting in accountability and better options for customers. If reducing waste is important to you, choosing locally raised meat from regenerative farms with a commitment to animal welfare is a small step that can make a big impact on the environment. Ask your Market of Choice Butcher about humanely raised beef, pork, poultry and lamb.

Plan your meals

Meal planning cuts back on food waste by stretching every ingredient you purchase to its most useful end. It also saves you money and time. We discuss meal planning in further detail in a previous post, Easy Meal Planning Tips. If you’re interested in learning more, give it a read.

Reusable water bottles and coffee thermos

A sustainable, reusable water bottle and coffee thermos can save you money and reduce the amount of plastic bottles finding their way into the oceans. We love the sleek, convenient designs from Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask, but there are many options available in our Home & Gift department.

Compost food scraps

Composting is one of the most important things you can do to reduce waste, and it’s easy to get started. Simply buy or DIY a backyard compost container, toss in your plant-based food scraps, garden clippings and dry leaves. Turn it occasionally to aerate, and in a few months, you’ll have nutrient-rich compost to use in your garden.

Items to compost:

  • Fruit & veggie scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Breads, grains, & pasta
  • Tea bags and loose tea
  • Fresh Garden clippings
  • Dried leaves, straw and flowers

Click this link to learn more about composting in your own backyard.

Sustainability is an essential ingredient for maintaining life on our planet. Pick up a few of these simple habits and you can reduce your impact on the environment too.

Published On: February 20th, 2024

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