Making Food Choices for The Environment

Do our food choices really impact the environment?

Believe it or not, for most people, the food we eat is the largest contributor to our personal carbon footprint. It contributes more personal greenhouse gases than electricity or transport. In a world where temperatures and sea levels are rising, and our land and ocean are becoming more polluted, eating more sustainably is a simple way we can all do our bit to reduce our impact on the environment.

How is food such a large contributor to damaging the environment?

  • • Unsustainable practices. Nearly half agricultural soil is degraded without time for the regeneration of nutrients.

  • • Overfishing doesn’t give time for the fish supply to build up again

  • • Waste - 1/3 of food purchased is wasted or lost

  • • Travel - Many foods on your supermarket shelves have traveled a long distance to get there. Foods which are not in season locally are imported from overseas, traveling longer than 24 hours to our supermarket shelf in some cases. The shipment required to get these foods onto our shelves heavily contributes to the carbon footprint of your diet.

  • • Production and transport of pesticides and fertilizers to farms emit greenhouse gases. The products also contaminate soil and water supplies.

  • • Packaging and plastics - Foods are often packaged in materials that cannot be recycled and contribute to landfill, taking 100s of years to breakdown

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Much of these practices can be minimized, avoided and discouraged simply by making mindful decisions when choosing your foods. But how can we make environmentally friendly food choices? Here are just a few simple ways to make your food choices that little bit more positive for the Earth:

  1. 1. Shop at farmers markets-  Produce is usually sourced locally and has a lower carbon footprint.

  2. 2. Buy in bulk - Bulk food stores use less packaging and more recyclable materials.

  3. 3. Use Recycled or Reusable storage containers - Purchase large amounts and store them in reusable glass jars or containers to reduce plastic waste.

  4. 4. Avoid plastic or foil wraps - use those glass containers or invest in plastic wrap alternatives.

  5. 5. Choose locally sourced products when shopping at the supermarket.

  6. 6. Go meat-free - over HALF the greenhouse gases produced from food are from animal products!

  7. 7. Choose wholefoods such as wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and dried legumes – less energy has been used in the processing of these foods. For example, lentils only require a little water to grow and have almost half the carbon footprint of beef. Plus, whole foods are often better for you.

  8. 8. If you are choosing to consume animal products, ensure they are sustainably sourced - such as tuna that has been caught locally with a fishing line rather than large scale dragnets.

  9. 9. Choose fair trade products - To carry the Fairtrade logo companies must source their products from farmers who use environmentally friendly practices. Plus, you will be supporting farmers in the developing world to have better working conditions and pay.

  10. 10. Become a conscious coffee drinker - Have your takeaway coffee in a re-usable cup. If using a pod machine, use recyclable or compostable coffee pods. Aluminum coffee pods take 200 years to break down!

  11. 11. Party in a sustainable way - Provide jugs of tap water rather than water bottles, choose paper or reusable crockery rather than plastic options, don’t use balloons (they end up in our oceans), choose local foods or veg options. You can even provide your guest with plant-based treats made from plant-based protein! Try this delicious bliss ball recipe made with the brand new, limited edition Birthday Cake Blessed Protein.