ZERO-WASTE MEAL CHALLENGE. IT'S POSSIBLE! HERE'S HOW...
The most important factor that can positively influence a switch to zero waste lifestyle is the reduction of single-use plastic. Challenging yourself to cook a zero waste meal for example is a fantastic way to consider how food is packaged and where different elements will end up at the end of their lifecycle.
But as a complete beginner, never having made a whole meal zero waste before, where do you start? ARE YOU READY FOR THE CHALLENGE? LET'S GO!
1. LOOK AROUND THE SUPERMARKET
Over the last few years, single use plastic packaging has been spoken about more and more in the media, which has resulted in some things coming in less plastic packaging in the supermarket. Vegetables, fruit and bakery items often don’t come with plastic packaging. Anything packaged in cans, cardboard or paper that can be easily and genuinely recycled can be an ingredient in a zero waste meal, just make sure to avoid single use plastic.
2. SWAP TRADITIONAL MEALS WITH ONES THAT ARE EASIER TO COOK ZERO-WASTE
As with many environmental lifestyle changes, we often seek out a direct swap which fits within the realms of what we are used to. However, sometimes things require a little creativity, and that’s exciting!
Take a classic meal; Spaghetti Bolognese, for example. The key ingredients are spaghetti, mince (meat or veggie) and canned tomatoes. Both spaghetti and mince come in plastic packaging so this might be a more difficult meal to cook zero-waste unless you live near a specific zero waste shop. Instead, jackfruit burgers with sweet potato fries and slaw is a far easier meal to make zero waste. Cabbage, sweet potato and bread rolls can easily be found without packaging and jackfruit can be found in a can!
3. SEARCH FOR ZERO-WASTE OR ORGANIC SHOPS
Some cities are lucky enough to have zero waste shops, bulk food bins, refill stations, health food or organic food shops. They are shops where you can access unpackaged food, toiletries and cleaning products, refill your own containers and eliminate waste. If you do a quick search for any of those then you can discover where your nearest one is. Giving them a visit will help immensely with reducing packaging, but it’s not always easy to access them because they’re still relatively niche. That said, they are easier to find now compared to a few years ago.
4. EXPLORE ETHNIC SHOPS IN YOUR AREA
So as well as exploring zero waste shops, also look for different shops such as a local greengrocers, Asian, Surinamese, or African supermarkets. Different shops might have different unpackaged vegetables or a wider range of canned products. If the shop is independent you could even request a certain vegetable to come unpackaged, or ask for a box of wonky veg. It’s also great to shop local instead of big supermarket chains!
SO THERE WE GO FOLKS! Challenging yourself to make a zero waste meal is a fantastic way to get creative and educate yourself about how things are packaged. Are you ready to try it and be surprised?!