• Buy local. Buying locally produced foods at famer’s markets, co-ops, and even your local grocery store, means that you are getting fresher products and help support your local community. Local produce helps reduce fuel waste and packaging, which is often used in long-distance shipping.
• Buy in bulk. Buying goods in bulk help reduce packaging material that comes when you repeatedly buy single items. Better yet buy ingredients from the bulk bins at your local store. If you ask your store’s manager for permission, many stores will allow you to scoop your bulk bin items directly into your own plastic storage containers (like these from Glad). Thus reducing any excess packaging.
• Examine the packaging. Fun size or individual sized bags of chips, cookies, etc. maybe fun and convenient but cause more trash. Look for foods packaged is single layers of packaging and ones that use recyclable packaging materials.
• Invest in a water purifier. Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour, with the majority of them being thrown away. An at home water purifier and a reusable bottle will not only reduce waste but save money.
• BYOB. Bring your own bags. Many stores now days even reward their customers by ‘paying’ them for using reusable bags. And in some areas (soon my own city), actually CHARGE a fee for using the store’s paper and plastic bags.
• Put a lid on it. Covering your pans while you cook can reduce cooking time and therefore reduce your energy bill by about 75%.
• Cook in batches and make extras. If using the oven to cook lasagna throw in a batch of cookies at the same time. Since ovens use a lot of energy this will cut down on extra wasted energy. Also when cooking think about making extra meat, rice, sauce, soups, etc. Reheating food saves time and uses less energy than cooking from scratch.
• Use energy efficient appliances. Bread machines, crock-pots, toaster ovens, and microwaves all use incredibly less amounts of energy compared to gas or electric stoves and ovens.
• The dishwasher SAVES water. Don’t pre-rinse your dishes, a good quality dishwasher and dish detergent will thoroughly clean your dishes without this process. Running a fully loaded dishwasher without pre-rinsing will save approximately 35% of water as compared to hand washing.
• Avoid hazardous cleaning products. Not only are these products harmful to the environment they are harmful to your health. Avoid any products with the words, caution, warning, danger, or poison.
• Use the old. Old t-shirts and bath or kitchen towels make great cleaning rags that can be washed and reused in place of paper towels. Recycle day old newspaper by using it to clean glass and mirrors.
• Go natural. Baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, liquid dish soap, and Borax are all great non-toxic cleaning products (for homemade cleaning recipes click here).
Disclaimer: This post is one in a four part blog series about environmentally friendly party/event planning/cooking sponsored by Foodbuzz and GLAD, through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, as part of the GLAD “One Bag” event. All opinions are my own.