Happy Earth Day! As we practice physical distancing, many families are thinking sustainably and creatively. How can we care for our planet and for one another right now?
Discovering your carbon footprint can be the first step in your family’s sustainability journey. Let’s do a deep dive and discover 10 tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint in home-based areas like waste and food.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER?
1. Take 5 minutes to try the Project Neutral tool and discover your household carbon footprint. Your carbon footprint is a representation of your household carbon emissions in areas like home energy, food and waste.
2. Got your number? Is it bigger than you expected? Don’t feel discouraged! You can use the deep dive modules on Food and Waste to get a more accurate number and the tips below for some actions to get you started…
WHAT’S THE KEY TO REDUCING WASTE?
3. Do you want to compost but it’s not available in your apartment or townhouse? Here are a few options for you:
- Why not learn about Vermicomposting? All Things Preserved offers introductory virtual workshops with all the supplies you need.
- Check out our blog post: 5 ORGANIC WASTE OPTIONS FOR APARTMENTS, TOWNHOUSES AND CONDOS
- Have you heard of ShareWaste? You can offer your compost bin, community garden or chickens OR find a drop off spot near you for compostable scraps. Wouldn’t it be amazing to grow the map in Waterloo Region?
4. Consider some reusable swaps for commonly used disposable items:
- Try a reusable water bottle or coffee mug
- Menstrual products like Diva Cup which are made right here in Kitchener
- Reusable produce bags from local makers
- Reusable tea strainer for loose leaf tea
- Cloth napkins (rather than paper)
- Tea towels and rags (rather than paper towel)
- Stainless steel safety razor
5. Use bar soaps (hand, body, shampoo, and conditioner) to minimize packaging. They contain little water and last months longer than traditional bath products.
Pro Tip: You can purchase many of the items above from local businesses like Zero Waste Bulk, FENIGO, Legacy Greens, Full Circle Foods and Molloy’s, all of which offer either delivery options or contact-less pick up options. Do you have any go-to spots where you buy your low waste products? Share them in the comments below and spread the local love.
THERE IS NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN COOK A GREAT MEAL WITH YOUR FAMILY. SO WHERE DOES YOUR CARBON IMPACT FIT IN WITH FOOD?
6. Reduce food waste by taking a weekly inventory of your fridge and pantry before you plan your grocery list. Then create a meal plan.
- Planning your meals in advance can help you avoid overspending, overeating and food waste due to over-purchasing.
- Keep a list of the food waste you produce – identify common items you may be over- purchasing and what goes to waste in your household, it will help you know what to avoid buying next time you’re at the grocery store
7. Didn’t get around to making a meal plan this week? Check out websites and apps that help you find recipes based on ingredients you already have in your house. Try inputting your ingredients to online tools such as:
8. Store your produce carefully to lengthen its life span.
- Wrap leafy greens, broccoli, and carrots in a damp tea towel to extend their life (just be sure to keep the towel damp)!
- Label leftovers to keep track of how long they’ve been in the fridge. Keep them towards the front so you don’t forget about them.
- Read more about how to store produce to keep it fresher, longer.
9. Freeze food and produce if you can’t eat them right away. Here are a few articles on how best to store and freeze many foods, waste-free:
- How to Freeze Food Without Using Plastic
- The Definitive Guide to Storing Food without Plastic
- Wondering if it’s safe to eat? The Government of Canada has some helpful charts and Still Tasty is a searchable website to finally know the answer to the lifelong question: Keep it or toss it?
10. Does your family have a sweet tooth? Treat yourselves and support local businesses for desserts and sweets:
Supporting local businesses means your food travels less from production to you, resulting in fewer emissions in the process. You can purchase many of the items above using each businesses’ delivery or contact-less pick up options. And don’t forget to ask for recyclable or compostable packaging for your order!
And there you have it! Get the whole family involved in deciding what tips to try and celebrate your wins this Earth Day.We may not be able to do everything, but each action makes an impact on our community and our Earth.
P.S. Once you’ve tried the Project Neutral tool go back and complete the deep dive modules to make your carbon impact number more accurate and track your progress as you take actions.
By: Sydney Hennessy, Community Engagement Coordinator and Donnique Williams, Communications Manager