6 Ways To Reduce Your Waste | Without Access to Bulk Stores

So I wanted to talk about the ways in which you could reduce your waste without access to bulk, because accessibility is a massive issue within the waste movements. Not everyone has the same access to bulk, and so even if you have the best intentions, you can fall short due to unavoidable lack of access. Everyone wants to do their bit, but in reality we can only do the best we can with what we reasonably have accessible to us. So I hope you enjoy the read and gain some useful tips from it.

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1. BUY IN BULK

Now when I say buy in bulk I don’t mean unpackaged. I simply mean buy the biggest bag you possibly can afford or find. I remember at uni I would go to the shop and buy 3kg bags of pasta which would last me weeks. This would not only save me money, but also dramatically reduced the amount of plastic bags I would have otherwise used if buying in smaller quantities. I also now buy a 10kg bag of porridge oats from Suma, as my sister and I have porridge for breakfast every morning. So by buying in bulk you are limiting the amount of waste you produce, and end up saving a bit of money too.

2. OPT FOR CARDBOARD OVER PLASTIC

Of course unpackaged is best, but how many people actually have access to completely unpackaged food items? So we are encouraging you to opt for more eco friendly packaging that can actually naturally decompose, over plastic. Cardboard is better for a few reasons. Namely because it can be recycled, but also because it can be composted. Have you heard of vermicompost? If you have a worm composter, they actually eat the cardboard and turn it into fertile compost which you can use in your garden. This is a great way of using a natural method to bring a material full circle, and allow it to decompose and become part of the earth again.

3. REDUCE OR STOP EATING FISH

Now I know this is going to be a little controversial but hear me out. The fishing industry is one of the biggest polluters of plastic waste on the planet. Out of the 8 million tonnes of plastic waste that enters our oceans each year, the fishing industry is responsible for 1 million tonnes of it. A large percentage of this waste is not only lost but also dumped, leaving marine life to get caught in nets often with devastating consequences. At a smaller level, the fish you buy in shops is often covered in plastic too. So by choosing to eat less fish, or even giving it up altogether you are directly stating that you no longer wish to support the dumping of plastic in the ocean, or the mistreatment of marine life fatally caught in industrial fishing nets.

 by Jakub Kapusnak

by Jakub Kapusnak

4. BUY LOCALLY AND SEASONALLY

The world has become a place where many of us have the option to eat foods from around the globe, simply by making a quick trip to our local supermarket. But how often do we consider the miles that piece of fruit has travelled to get to us? Eating both seasonally and locally supports farmers within your country, whilst also saving a huge amount of waste in transportation resources. By opting to eat local produce that is grown in season you are ensuring that extra measures have not been made to grow these foods. Since if you were say, to eat tomatoes that were local but not in season, then you can be sure that a huge amount of energy has been used to grow those particular foods. Farmers markets are a wonderful place to find such gems, but if you do not have those accessible to you simply go to your supermarket and check the labels to ensure they are in fact local.

5. CHOOSE ORGANIC

Now organic foods can be very expensive so if you do not have access to affordable organic produce then feel free to skip this step, or simply try to buy a few organic items in your weekly shop. Organically grown produce uses lower levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers. Furthermore, this way of growing uses more environmentally sustainable management of land and natural environment. This means more wildlife, and less eco system devastation.

6. BUY WONKY & UGLY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Did you know that 1/3 of all food grown globally goes to waste? A large proportion of this is due to wonky veg and ugly fruit not meeting cosmetic standards and so are rejected by supermarkets. Luckily there are wonderful initiatives out there like REJUCE and OddBox who take wonky veg and give them a new life. So far Rejuce has turned 150 tonnes of food waste into delicious juice, and prevented it from simply being wasted. While OddBox go directly to farmers and buy their gorgeously wonky veg, creating odd shaped fresh produce boxes for us residents of London. By supporting initiatives like this in your local area, you can directly help affect real change within the food waste sector. Do your research, you may be surprised by what or who is creating change near you.


RESOURCES

  • Drowning in plastic, BBC iPlayer

  • Turning the tide on plastic, Lucy Siegle

  • Feedback.org


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LIM FOUNDER & CONTRIBUTOR

IMMY LUCAS

Immy is the creator of the YouTube channel Sustainably Vegan and the founder of the Low Impact Movement. Immy has dedicated her life to fighting the waste pandemic through online activism including social media campaigns, and personal waste reduction tips.

YouTube: Sustainably Vegan

Instagram: @sustainably_vegan


Imogen Lucas