I’m so excited to be joining Easy Food to give you some tips on how to make your life more #zerowaste in honour of #zerowasteweek. I’m Finn, a marine scientist turned foodie, an author and now the proud owner of Milish — a zero-waste and gluten-free bakery. In Milish, we achieved zero waste by cutting out our refuse bin and using only a compost bin and recycle bin; we also only give compostable packaging to our customers (to find out more about how we built a sustainable business, check us out on www.milishbakery.com).
One of the questions I get asked the most when I’m doing demos or talks is how to go #zerowaste, or if it’s even possible. I think aiming for perfection can cause a state of overwhelm and this week I want to do the opposite. These tips will arm you with tools to confidently take a little bit of the zero waste ethos into your everyday life. Tackling waste in your home or workplace in a way that’s easy, affordable and — who knows — maybe even fun!
Knowledge is power and I encourage you to find out more on food waste stats and ocean plastics (I cover topics like this on my website www.saltwaterstories.me) but in the meantime here are some simple steps you can take right now to get started just looking at your weekly grocery shop.
1. We’ll follow the flow of how waste happens so let’s start in your house, before you’ve even gone shopping yet. Let’s check the fridge what veggies are leftover, what staples do you still have in the cupboard? The most sustainable choice is usually the thing you already have. I tend to check my stock and then make a rough meal plan and shopping list around what I have. All done? Sweet, now grab a few reusable shopping bags and off we go. Bonus tip — take empty jars and smaller bags if your supermarket sells bulk items.
2. I write myself a “loose shopping list”; instead of “buy broccoli” I’ll have “green veg” — that way I can choose loosely sold items first. Win win — less packaging and only get as many as you need for the week, so less waste.
3. “Naked.Paper.Tin.Glass.” Get in the habit of treating all the stuff that comes with your food item as potential waste. I’ll choose loose items first e.g. bananas, then items in paper (that maybe I could reuse for composting like a paper bag), then tin and glass as they’re the most easily and indefinitely recyclable. Plastic is the literal last straw since it’s the hardest to recycle. Bonus tip — if you get more things in glass like sauces, these jars make great storage containers after you’ve used them up.
4. Most bin providers do compost bins and you’d be surprised how much more can go in these commercial bins vs the compost in your garden; just check with your provider. Before it gets as far as that bin, think to yourself, could I use this at all? Slightly wrinkled veg could still be perfectly edible; blitz them into a tasty soup as the weather gets colder.
5. You’re back home with your shopping, you’ve avoided loads of plastic (yay). Now what? I know you’ve just done loads of work already, but taking time to meal prep is great for saving time across the week and preventing food waste. After shopping I take an hour to: make a soup; portion and freeze a loaf of bread from Milish; peel, slice and freeze bananas that were a bit brown to use in smoothies; and prep some carrots and celery for snacks during the week. All of this not only stops you from wasting time during the week, but also turns all your perishable food into ready-to-eat portions so there’s no food waste either!
I hope you’ll find these #zerowasteweek tips helpful! To get more tricks and ideas check out @saltwaterstories.me and @milish_bakery on instagram or head on over to my website www.saltwaterstories.me for more!