1. Buy local whenever you can.
Most grocery stores (including the Co-op) identify locally grown and produced foods, including meats, grains, dairy, honey, fruits and veggies, and much more. In addition, local farms often list their goods on websites like Front Porch Forum. Choose food grown nearby instead of across the country (or the world) and you’ll automatically cut down on the carbon cost of your meals. Grocery store produce travels an average of 1500 miles to get from the farm to your plate.
2. Buy in bulk and bring your own containers.
Both Hannaford and the Co-op sell dry goods like rice, oats, lentils, beans, and granola in bulk bins—and they’re often cheaper per pound than the packaged versions. The next time you go shopping, bring your own reusable produce bags or recycled containers and fill (or refill) them with the ingredients you need. Containers and packaging make up about 30 percent of the waste generated by Americans. That equals over 80 million tons of garbage every year! Many of those containers and packages are created to hold the food we buy and eat.
3. Create a written plan for the week’s meals.
Check your pantry and fridge to see what you already have, then make a list of the missing ingredients. When you do your grocery shopping, only buy the items on the list—and only purchase as much as you will use. Be sure to post your meal plan on the fridge so you don’t forget about it! The average American throws away nearly a pound of food per day, mainly leftovers and spoiled food that was purchased and forgotten. This adds up to over 38 million tons of food waste each year, nearly all of which ends up in the landfill and emits greenhouse gases.
4. Eat more plants!
Going meatless for just one dinner each week will save close to a ton of CO2
per year for the average American. Once you get in the groove, try cutting meat from another meal, then another. And if there are times when you must eat meat, choose types with a smaller carbon footprint than beef, like chicken, and be sure to look for options that are raised locally (and humanely).
5. Compost leftover food instead of tossing it out.
Not only will you reduce the amount of trash sent to the landfill, but compost also helps add valuable nutrients to the soil. Many food items, including fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds and filters, bread, rice, pasta, egg shells, and more can be composted at home or brought to the District Transfer Station (or one of the many town drop-off locations). The District gives away free 5-gallon food scrap buckets and sells countertop kitchen collectors for just $5. Learn more about the dos and don’ts of composting right here, plus click here
for the basics of creating a home compost pile. Only a little over 6 percent of food waste was composted in 2017, the latest year on record. The rest ended up in landfills, becoming a significant source of greenhouse gases.
National Resources Defense Council