Tips for Cooking and Eating “Zero Waste” this Summer
Photography: Pauline Boldt
Reusable bag, check! Water bottle, check! You’ve got the basics down pat, now it’s time to expand on what you thought was possible and take on a challenge! We all know it’s almost impossible to be completely zero waste, but I’ve compiled a list of clever tips to help you cut down on waste and have some fun doing it.
Cook on a Cedar plank!
Not only do they make your food taste so amazing (find an easy recipe, here!) but they minimize the use of aluminum foil. And let’s face it, we all know aluminum foil will stay on this earth loooong after we’re gone. Food looks great served right on it as well. Less dishes, right?!
Ditch the stretch wrap! You’ll never need to buy saran again! These wraps can be found in all shapes and sizes making them perfect to wrap around bowls, pots, raw vegetables, or that last little wedge of cheese leftover from your cheese board. The breathable material helps keep food fresh for longer while being reused over and over again. To clean, gently wash with warm soapy water and let air dry. Bonus: they smell amazing!
Get yourself a beer growler!
Save numerous beer bottles and look stylish while doing it! Breweries and liquor stores have growler bars where you can stock up on your favourite brew and take it home waste free.
I’m all about that bulk life right now! I always bring my pre-washed and sanitized glass jars or produce bags to eliminate the use of the single use plastic bags. Just make sure to go to the register first to have your container pre-weighed so they can zero out the weight later. I frequent places like Bulk Barn to stock up on essentials, such as brown rice, nuts, spices, chia seeds, hemp hearts, dried beans and pasta.
Pro tip: subscribe to Bulk Barn’s e-newsletter and get coupons and discount codes emailed every week!
Shop vintage stores!
Instead of buying new, scour thrift and vintage stores for old pottery, vintage cooking utensils and unique glassware. Not only do they look amazing for food styling, but you’ll probably pay a fraction of the price than if you were to buy new. Some of my favourite locations in Winnipeg are Old Revival House, Salvation Army, and your local Value Village.
Olive oil + balsamic vinegar dispensary locations
Places such as Frescolio, Perfect Pairs and Prairie Oils and Vinegars (Steinbach) have a recycling program where you can re-use the bottles and receive a discount on re-fills. (Also, all of their products are delicious!!)
Shop your fridge BEFORE you head to the store
… and BUY less (saving money!) Did you know that the average consumer wastes 50% of the food they buy? I know, crazy right? Use Google and Pinterest as a resource for recipes to help use up odds and ends in your fridge. Like a jar of sundried tomatoes, half a can of chickpeas, or that jar of Harissa with a cool label that you picked up on a trip but have no idea what to do with. Sound familiar? Shopping your fridge FIRST helps to base recipes or draw inspiration around things you ALREADY have, minimizing food wasted and giving you clear direction on what you should be buying.
Re-use your SMAK DAB jar!
Did you know that only 9% of all recyclables are ACTUALLY recycled!? Scary right? Use clean SMAK DAB jars to store vitamins, spices or seeds (remember my Bulk Barn tip?), first aid supplies, nails or screws, and coins. It also serves as a perfect jar for homemade salad dressings. Simply add all the ingredients to the jar, and shake, shake, SHAKE!
Shop for produce at Farmers Markets!
Produce is sold loose and by weight at markets with no plastic packaging or containers. Not to mention the minimized carbon footprint from buying your tomatoes from a local farmer vs. trucked in from California. I mean, do we even need to point out how much better local produce tastes? Check out our blog on Farmers Markets here to find one close to you!
Ready to take on the challenge? Tag me in your zero-waste photos on social media!