Waste Awareness

A week of conscious waste reduction

Legacy. Good or bad, we all build one. Some are forgotten, but some can leave a lasting effect. Waste is a legacy we all contribute to and is an area where individuals can make a real difference. It can be great for the environment as well as the pocket book. More importantly, waste reduction is a legacy to pass onto our grandchildren. The little bit we can do now can make a big difference for them in the future.

Initially I thought that my resolution to reduce my food waste, packaging included, would be difficult. I normally have terrible eating habits, in the sense that I skip many meals and eat out too often, so there would be too much waste. However, this story has coincided with a new healthy attitude, which has given me some time to think about the impact of what is left behind after a week of eating.

Before I started this week, I thought to myself, “no need to research, just use your common sense.” So I came up with a simple set of rules.

1) Pre-planning is key. (What a great start.)
2) Think of the meals I want for the week, then find the least wasteful options. (Pretty easy so far.)
3) Eat raw unprocessed foods. (Should also help with the new healthy attitude.)
4) Look for local options where possible. (Higher chance for packaging choices.)

The results were promising and I think I was able to get by with a pretty small physical waste footprint. I will be trying this again, but next time I will add more variety to my meals, as well as count things like the energy used to cook and the costs of shopping.

Breakfast turned out to be the easiest meal to have less waste. A carton of eggs, a package of bacon, a box of cereal and a carton of milk. By the end of the week there was simply the packages left over, most of which were recyclable or compostable.

Lunches were a little different. I don’t often have lunch, and when I do, it is usually from a restaurant. However, I did make a small effort to bring a lunch with me for this week. By not doing take-out, I reduced some of the waste I normally would have.

I certainly thought I was clever when I asked the butcher to package the different meats in paper. Easier on the landfill for sure. Suppers also sometimes made lunches. So that was a bonus as well.
When shopping, I brought along some reusable bags. Except for one day. I must say I was very disappointed in myself that day.

Snacks were limited. I am not really a very snacky type of person. I bought some loose apples and then $20 worth of pistachios. $20! So that was it for snacks for this week. I made them last all week.

At the end of the week, much of the packaging waste I had was either compostable, or recyclable. Had I realized it, I could have taken reusable containers to Bulk Barn and reduced my waste footprint even more. Their new program allows customers to bring their own clean containers to fill, a great step towards helping us all reduce waste.

About Richard Schroeter

Richard has been in the multimedia game for a long time. He has a background in art and computer design and has used this experience working in television, film and photography. By day he works at Veterans Affairs, building presentations, restoring photos, editing Veterans video clips, and creating learning modules for Canadian students of all grades. By night he forages for food and figures Salty will be his go to starting point.

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