These are strange times and many of us are finding that it's challenging to manage our waste in the ways that we are used to. For many, bulk options have all but disappeared and a need for safety and the ability to keep our loved ones healthy has surpassed our want to reduce our waste in the kitchen.
Don't feel bad if you are experiencing an increase in overall waste coming out of your kitchen; we are too! I've completely stopped buying greens or fresh herbs that I can't gather from my garden or source directly from a farmer (as they are hard to wash/sanitize and are seeing a lot of hands in their journey to our plates). We've transitioned to pretty much only peel-able veggies like cabbage, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and veggies that can take a good scrubbing with antibacterial essential oils like avocados and red peppers.
While we are making extra waste there are ways to still reduce the overall amount of waste you are making. I wanted to share three of my favorite strategies to stay safe and reduce waste at the same time.
Buy Bulk at Costco
If you can't buy bulk and use your own containers and bags a great alternative is getting huge quantitates with limited packaging. I don't mean go buy a bunch of "bulk" individually packed stuff at Costco. I mean, buy your rice, flour, and sugar at Costco where there is one bag for 10 pounds worth of food. This isn't as good as no bags at all but it's a whole lot better than one bag for every two or five pounds of beans, rice, or other dry goods at the grocery store.
2. Re-evaluate what you are purchasing
With extra time at home now is a great time to learn some new skills! Take some time to think about things that you are buying in packaging and learn how to make them from scratch. A great example of this might be kimchi, bread, tortillas, snack bars, granola, or yogurt. Have fun and make it a family ordeal (this is a great way to occupy kids)!
3. Don't skip the scraps
Money is tight for a lot of folks right now so using the whole vegetable is key! It's a great time to slow down and pick all of those seeds out of a squash and roast them or make some carrot top pesto! This is honestly something we should always be doing, but I know that in the usual grind of life it can be hard to remember or even take time to use the "scraps" when they can just go into the compost. However, establishing this skill will allow one veggie to roll over into more meals than otherwise, which will reduce your amount of compost and save you some cash.