In the first of our three-part Sustainable Saturday series on the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle,” we discussed how you can reduce your waste. In this second installment, we will dive into the various ways you can reuse the resources you already have — including getting more out of your food.
The United States is one of the highest producers of waste every year. Aside from consuming less, there are opportunities to get more out of the things you already own, including food. Below are a few ways you can help make a healthier, more sustainable planet.
Reusing on a daily basis
There are plenty of everyday objects we use once and throw out, like disposable silverware, containers, and many other items seen as instantly dispensable. We have them at home and we get them in stores. When it comes to eating meals at restaurants, think BYOU (bring your own utensil); you save on waste by bringing your own cups, eating utensils, and containers to a meal.
And, good news for coffee lovers: sometimes, bringing your own thermos to a coffee shop is a great way to get more coffee at a discount. Switch to a few good dishtowels in the kitchen to keep from wasting too many paper towels.
Get more out of food
Since you eat most of your food, it is a bit harder to reuse. But there are opportunities to get more out of your fruits and vegetables. One major way you can do this is by embracing retailers that are selling so-called “ugly produce.” This type of produce is just fine, it just doesn’t hit many of the aesthetic requirements that some grocery shoppers have. But, the food is just as good, and you will likely be seeing it on shelves sometime soon. Plus, it’s great for cutting down on waste.
Another way to prevent food waste is to invest in foods that do not spoil. Freeze-dried food can last almost indefinitely, and returns to its original state with the addition of a little water.
Extend the life of electronics
Have an old phone or electronic device that you are considering throwing out? Hold off until you have explored a few additional options. You can turn old phones, computers, and tablets into media devices, and many nonprofits take them as donations.
If all else fails, when you are thinking about throwing anything away, consider the possibilities for its reuse, or take it to a thrift store or charity. Someone else might be able to use it — the trash certainly cannot.