We’re all about good food, but we’re also all about the outdoors (it’s literally in our name). With issues like food waste, single-use plastics, paper waste, and more, there are a lot of ways the food industry is environmentally questionable. So for 2020, we thought of ways to implement our resolution to make food and drink choices more sustainable and keep our outdoor spaces around for generations to come.
STAY HYDRATED WITH LESS WASTE
When it comes to being earth-friendly, one of the easiest changes to make can be ditching single-use paper and plastics when eating and drinking. If you’re not already using a reusable water bottle you should get on it, but there’s more you can do besides cutting out plastic bottles. Start with your morning joe - use a reusable coffee filter. If drink out, hand your barista a travel coffee mug or make your own traveling french press with the Commuter Javapress. To take it a step further, invest in a reusable silverware set to keep in your car when ordering food to go - and keep one less fork and wrapper out of the landfill.
LESS PLASTIC BAGS
Our fridges can be a source of lots of plastic waste, but there are easy changes that reduce our food footprint. Use reusable produce bags when shopping at the store, and find grocery stores that sell bulk goods to reduce packaging trash and save money. Store a few reusable bags in the trunk of your car for easy grabbing in the parking lot (we know, we always forget them at home too). At home, swap plastic zipper bags for reusable beeswax wraps, which not only reduce plastic use but make great firestarter for your backpack when they reach the end of their lifespan.
Paper towels may be easy to use on a camping trip, but are they necessary? 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year in the US, a number we can certainly commit to improving. Keep a few microfiber towels in your mess kit and leave the paper towels at home on your next camping trip. By switching our paper towels with camp towels, we can clean up messes without making the earth a mess.
Reducing trash helps when we shop for our food, but the food we buy can make a difference as well. We can reduce the impact of our food choices by picking in-season produce and supporting local suppliers for produce, dairy, and meats. Eating less meat can drastically reduce your food footprint, as does cooking for yourself instead of consuming processed foods. Picking “ugly” produce makes a difference too, as many of the fruits and vegetables with slight deformities get thrown away at grocery stores. Best yet, grow your own food for a combination of food appreciation and outdoor recreation.
Last but not least, we can reduce our food waste by composting. Composting is perfect for fertilizing the aforementioned garden and doable in any living space (no, you don’t have to live on a farm to compost). Many cities offer compost collection, but there are hundreds of videos online for setting up a personal composting bin in your home. Not only does composting keep food from rotting for hundreds of years in landfills, it can also help you realize how much food you actually waste over time.
The only thing we love more than good food is our wild spaces, and we can use our food choices to reduce our impact on the earth we love. Here’s to a more sustainable 2020! Learn more about the sustainable efforts GSI Outdoors' is making here.