START WITH 3 EASY THINGS
1. Buy package-free or in bulk when possible.
The easiest thing to start with is ditching those plastic produce bags (you’re going to wash everything when you get home anyway!) and disposable carry-out bags. Avoid products that have extra plastic wrapping, and opt for glass/paper/aluminum when it’s available.
Avoid “snack-sized” as it usually means there’s way more packaging involved just to portion things out. Alternatively, buy those snacks in bulk and use reusable ziplock bags to portion things out. Another upside to buying in bulk: it means less trips to the store and tends to be much cheaper.
Project Drawdown, “a broad coalition of researchers, scientists, graduate students, PhDs, post-docs, policy makers, business leaders and activists [assembled to] present the best available information on climate solutions in order to describe their beneficial financial, social and environmental impact over the next thirty years,” found that reducing food waste and eating a plant-rich diet were ranked #3 and 4, respectively, as the most impactful solutions to reduce carbon emissions and help capture the harmful gases out of our atmosphere over the next 30 years.
Raising livestock for consumption has severe direct and indirect impacts on the environment – from the methane the animals release, to the clear-cutting required to provide land for grazing – accounting for up to 50% of current emissions. On top of all that, overconsumption of animal protein comes at a cost to your health.
If you’re a meat lover, take one small step: cut out meat just once a week. Want to put in the extra effort? Try to limit it to weekends. If everyone just reduced their consumption, it adds up very quickly. And, your body will thank you.
3. Visit your local farmers market.
There are farmer’s markets all over the United States offering local produce. Local means its fresh (and often organic), and it required less energy to transport it to you. Less transport time means it’s fresher because it can be picked closer to the time of consumption. It also means you can avoid those little produce stickers and any extra unnecessary packaging around your fruits and veggies.
If you’re trying to transition to a more plant-based diet, shopping at a farmer’s market certainly aligns with that. I often get new ideas when I see fruits and veggies I don’t normally cook with. Not to mention, its a great way to get outside on the weekend, and you’ll be supporting your local economy.
Find your nearest farmers market on Local Harvest!
Have you found other solutions? Drop me a line so I can add them to the list!