Snacking Sustainably :
Chips, granola bars, and fruit snacks come
wrapped in plastic (which NEVER goes away).
In this blog, learn how to reduce waste while snacking.
Does supermarket waste drive you bonkers? Good. It should! Negative publicity and consumer demand for plastic-free veggie and fruit are creating a ripple across American grocery stores and supermarkets. Slowly but surely, change – big, I might add, is happening. It’s quite encouraging either way.
In this blog, we hope to raise awareness about a topic that doesn’t get too much direct attention. One that is worse for the environment, for animals, and for humans. It’s food waste.
Before diving deep into my hacks to reduce food waste at home, you’ll need to understand why consumer awareness in Western countries is vital.
Snacking Sustainably – Are you aware of the dangers of plastic?
If we hope to prevent 80 billion lbs. of food from going to USA landfills each year, we need to discuss how grocery stores’ unethical practices are leading to vast quantities of edible food being wasted.
Nearly 40% of plastic created each year comes from the packaging of single-use products. These products are typically only used one time before they’re thrown away and forgotten. It’s easy not to think that it makes much of a difference.
If you have the privilege of not living so close to a landfill, it may be easier to pretend your garbage doesn’t have a global impact.
LANDFILLS ARE RUNNING OUT OF ROOM!
Landfills are running out of space, and trash companies want to expand the limit on how high they can stack garbage. Think the more garbage being processed, the more money in their pockets. Unfortunately, people that live near these landfills have to deal with the views, and it’s quite unsightly.
What’s the problem? People create garbage. It’s not only in the Wilco area; it’s all over the world. According to the EPA, the average American citizen produces around 5.91 lbs. of trash, with about 1.51 being recycled. As an average, that’s about 4.40 lbs. of daily waste per person. If you’re a family of 4, that is 17.7 lbs. of trash per household per day and over 123 lbs. bs per week!
If families could cut back on one pound per person per day, it means that a family of four’s waste would be nearly down to 96 lbs. in a week. That is huge! However, we need to think big picture. What if we could get our community to reduce waste?
Snacking Sustainably – What does it mean to be “sustainable?”
While “zero waste” is impossible, “low waste” is achievable. We don’t need a million people doing “zero waste” or even “low waste” perfectly. We need a million people trying to cut back their waste. Sustainability means avoiding the depletion of our natural resources in order to maintain a good ecological balance. There is no Planet B. We must take care of the one we have. It’s not that difficult to make a few conscientious decisions to help the bigger picture. Establishing a slightly-altered routine would be ideal for helping reduce our global garbage problem.
While there are many ways to reduce waste, this blog is about limiting waste with a focus on snacks!
Individually packaged snacks have got to go! Try limiting purchase.
Snacks! Yum, I love snacks. You love snacks. We all love snacks, but it’s unfortunate that they come all tangled up in plastic packaging, which is one of the worst waste generators around. Think about all the goldfish, granola bars, and fruit snacks – all wrapped in single-use plastic! While some packaging can be recycled at home, most of it can’t!
The following suggestions will help give you ideas for how to reduce the amount of food packaging you buy (and therefore throw away) and ideas for how to store snacks without wastefulness.
Note: We do understand that some food packaging is unavoidable, and sometimes lower bargain prices and availability in our area will dictate final choices. Remember, “zero waste” isn’t all or nothing. We encourage you to do the best you can with what you have! That’s all anyone can really do!
Invest in Containers!
Investing in alternative containers is a must, especially if you are serious about reducing single-use plastic. Think about where you typically bring snacks. Do you have children? Do you need to snack on the way home from work? There are so many options that can be custom-fit to your needs.
First off, saying that we love stasher bags is an understatement. What’s a word that means more than love? Silicone Stasher bags replace Ziplock bags, seal incredibly well, and can be put in the microwave, freezer, dishwasher, and oven. They’re absolutely incredible.
The price of stasher bags might lag your decision to purchase, but try grabbing one of the smaller versions, and you’ll be hooked soon enough. There are many “like stashers” on the market, but I promise they’re not worthy of your time.
Another alternative would be to grab beeswax wrap, which is an alternative to plastic cling wrap. You can make yourself or purchase from an eco-friendly store. The beeswax wrap is awesome because it’s natural and reusable while sealing containers of any shape.
Additionally, I want to recommend reusable produce bags. As obvious as it should sound, I want to recommend reusable produce bags. There’s no point in going to the grocery store with intentions of reducing your waste if taking home little plastic bags happens every time.
How to reduce individual packaging?
While at the grocery store or farmers market, search for whole foods. Why? Many of these nutritious foods come low-waste and healthy to snack on.
Skip the little plastic bag that helps “keep them together” in your buggy, and consider bringing reusable produce bags.
When you get home from the market, consider prepping your veggies and fruits for meals right away. For example, chop up tomatoes and onions for an upcoming taco meal (and compost the rest). Storing prepared carrots and celery in water in the fridge can help keep them crispy, fresh, and ready to eat. These snack hacks save time, money and earn big “eco-points.”
You can totally use Stasher bags when grocery shopping. If you plan on freezing a product – like meat or veggies, consider filling your stashers with the product, purchasing and directly tossing it into the fridge. It really is more convenient! There’s a “tar weight” written on the side of the bags that the cashier can subtract for the total weight of your products.
Reduce waste in Dairy
Let’s be honest! Between all the cheese, milk, and yogurt, Dairy is a big part of a child’s life. Unfortunately, most dairy products come in single-use plastics.
- DIY: If you’re feeling brave enough, consider making your own dairy products, like yogurt. Not only can you control what goes into the product, but it helps the environment.
- Cheese: Cheese doesn’t have to be a big “no-no!” Some ways to reduce waste with cheese are to bring in your own stasher bag or beeswax wraps at the deli. Ask them to put your cheese in these helpful products to cut back waste. If this is not ideal, consider purchasing cheese in bulk and slicing off individual servings for snacks.
Make & Bake at Home
Snacks made in your cozy kitchen are typically healthier and tastier than store-bought! Not only can we avoid preservatives by using whole grains, but I’m also able to control how much sugar goes into our delicious snacks. In fact, whipping up homemade granola bars and crackers are a staple in our home. Get creative by freezing muffins or “power balls” when Snacking Sustainably.
Avoid Single-Use Plastic & Wrappers when possible
Remember those beeswax wraps! Those come in very handy when making homemade snacks.
Learn how to make a snack wrap here:
Shop in Bulk!
Not all bulk items are created equal. For instance, Costco offers great discounts for bulk items, but most of it comes in individually wrapped items, but in larger quantities.
However, there are some stores locally that will help you reach your zero waste goals.
Suppose you or your kids love a product, like Veggie Straws, and cannot live without them. It’s okay to go to Costco or Sam’s club and purchase these items. It is better to get the bigger bag and sort them out at home (in smaller, non-plastic containers) than it is to buy individual bags.
Outside of big bulk stores, shop around bulk bin stores for home staples. We’re talking flour, nuts, seeds, chocolates, candies, beans, and rice. It’s a good idea to bring your own jars and, and storage stasher bags. Know the tear weight before filing for easier checkout for Snacking Sustainably.
Where can I find these products?
Check out Sanctuary Holistic Kitchen in their new location for products you can pick up in Williamson County.
Screw Plastic makes and sells handmade items to help folks begin the journey towards moving a little closer to Zero-waste Living. Linda is often found at the Wolf Ranch Farmers Market on Saturdays and she has a website you may order from. Follow her on Facebook for great tips.
Here is a list of a few of our favorite sustainable companies online where you can find great products, great ideas, and even great gifts:
Earth Hero – Not only products but a few books to provide ideas and more simple tips
Nature Bee Beeswax wraps – It is all about the best beeswax wraps!
Yes Straws – Love a good smoothie or a frozen drink on the beach? Enjoy your favorite beverage with a Yes Straw.
Samba-Sol – Dress up your party to the picnic with a little Samba in your Sol. Beautiful footwear from beautiful people who know how to really be, well, Snacking Sustainably!
Bambu – Finish up the Party with eco-friendly dishware from Bambu. Non-plastic and certified organic that you can use every day or just for a picnic.
If you’re really ready to snack more responsibly without the waste, there are definitely ways to make it happen. When you are stuck in a rut and finding it difficult, reach out to zero waste groups online. We promise that you are not alone in this journey to contribute to Earth’s better health. We believe any attempt at living ‘greener’ is a step in the right direction. Thank you for reading along!
Thank you for Snacking Sustainably!