Even though I am committed to being a conscious consumer, our family still creates far too much waste. We grow lots, we take our own containers to stores, we visit local farms, markets and coops. We compost anything biodegradable .... but still it troubles me how easy it is for us to fill the bins - garbage and recycling.
|Harvesting fresh salad greens just before lunch is such a delight.|
- Step one - Celebrate and recognise the positive steps we've already been able to take.
- Step two - Do a waste audit and look at where most of our wastes are coming from.
- Step three - Decide which of those products we actually need to purchase.
- Step four - Find ways to make or purchase those products without the wrapping (start with the easiest ones to replace).
- Step five - Keep seeking alternatives for the others.
To celebrate some of the steps we've already been able to take to reduce waste ...
Growing our own, and purchasing food at farm gates and farmers marketsWe grow lots of vegetables, herbs and fruits here in our garden at the community gardens we're involved with.
|Large fennel bulbs are great in lunchtime salads. At the moment, I'm waiting for the seeds to ripen for harvest.|
|Abundant brassicas and edible flowers at the Moving Feast garden at University of Sunshine Coast.|
|We have four types of mulberries growing - this is the Dwarf Red Shatoot vareity (immature fruit)|
Once a month a farmers market happens at Crystal Waters and the farmers come to us.
Supporting local artisan makersFor some time now we've not needed to buy loaves of packaged bread. The local bakery, Crystal Waters Sourdough Bakery, makes beautiful wood-fired organic sourdough bread. His flour comes in paper or cloth bags, and he sells his loaves in brown paper bags. You can, of course also choose not to take a bag. Recently my kids have become interested in learning how to make this bread - watching the process through the bakery window so intrigued them. Les the baker saw them there and kindly invited them in over a couple of weeks to teach them and shared some of his starter too.
|Crystal Waters Sourdough Bakery|
Shopping at a local food cooperativeI appreciate the shops where it is an option to choose packaging and bring my own containers.
My local organic food coop in Maleny sells lots of things in bulk - honey, olive oil, tamari, tahini, peanut paste, apple cider vinegar, dishwashing liquid, seeds, grains, pulses ... chocolate! I take my collection of jars and homemade bags with me to refill. I love going into this little shop - it's so friendly and welcoming.
|The wonderful Maple Street Coop (image:http://www.maplestreetco-op.com/about)|
Making teas and icy poles at homeIt's small, but there is quite a bit of wrapping associated with teas and coffees. My garden is full of herbs and bush foods that are fabulous teas - particularly blended with a little spoon of honey.
|One of my favourite garden teas - tulsi, lemongrass, lemon myrtle with some honey, ginger, coriander seeds and cinnamon.|
|Ice cream from just frozen mangoes - nothing added.|
I feel lucky to live in a place where accessing local, fresh and unpackaged whole foods is an easy task. But I know there are ways, wherever we are, to cut back on waste. For example, if I still lived in Brisbane, I'd be shopping at the weekly Northey Street Organic Markets and signing up for a box of produce from Food Connect. Reducing waste with food packaging is just one aspect of diminishing waste in our lives - what can we also do in our offices and schools, our clothing, sports and hobbies? There are so many ways to become more conscious consumers. Each week I am attempting to make some changes in a positive direction until I have reached zero waste - and then continue to work toward going beyond zero - creating abundance.