Earth Day is a great time to assess our eco-friendly habits, especially in the kitchen where there are so many opportunities to make a positive impact. But I get it: I’m lazy, and changing habits is hard. Sadly, when it comes to the environment, laziness is no excuse. It is a factor, though, when considering new solutions — because everyone’s a little lazy, right?
Simple solutions that are easy to maintain are always the best, because you’ll actually do them! Here are five of my favorites that my family and I do that you can start today, too, with minimal effort and maximum impact. Just the way we like it.
1. We always (really, always) bring our own bags.
A few years ago, I finally tackled the pile of plastic bags we were “saving for later” for the final time. Now I have a system that works: After unpacking groceries, the bags go on the back doorknob. When we leave, I can’t miss them and they go back into the car so that I can re-use them. I also carry one of those nylon bags that folds up really small in my purse at all times as back up.
Just watch: Now that I’ve said this, someone’s going to catch me without bags at the grocery store.
2. We use the easiest composting method EVER.
Composting sounds like an ordeal, but not the way that I do it. (Did I mention that I’m lazy?!) I keep a plastic container by the sink and when it gets full of compost material (usually daily), I bury the scraps in the bushes. That’s it. Even a child can do it.
We don’t actually need compost because we don’t garden. (I’m bad at it, and I don’t want to take business from local farmers. Yeah, that’s the reason.) And burying our scraps in different spots around the yard enriches our soil and doesn’t require any other maintenance.
Simple composting is the best composting.
3. We pack lunch for work and school instead of eating out.
This may sounds like a no-brainer, but if buying lunch is an option for you or your older kids, packing it can become an afterthought. That’s why I pack lunches while putting away dinner leftovers. If you need inspiration, check out these fantastic dinners that make delicious lunch leftovers. You should also make sure that you meal plan and grocery shop for enough to make extra food. Then, instead of putting all the leftover lasagna in one container, pack it in individual portions like I do. The next day, it’s a simple matter of grab-n- go.
My pat-in-the-pan quiches filled with leftover salami, a wilting leek, overripe tomatoes, spinach, & random cheeses.
4. We eat everything in the fridge.
The easiest way to do this safely is to keep the oldest food in sight, and store fresh groceries in the back of your fridge. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see regular posts about cleaning out my fridge, usually on the weekend, since I like to shop on an empty fridge (as opposed to shopping on an empty stomach, which often leads to over buying). I tag these posts with #scrapcooking so that I can remember which fridge clean-outs resulted in the best meals. Reducing food waste is a great way to reduce your family’s footprint.
5. We make our own bottled water.
I hate wasting water, to the point where I’ll drink everyone’s water while doing the dishes rather than pouring it down the drain. We keep glass water bottles in the fridge, bring them to the table, and refill them as needed. Because the water’s cold, we don’t need ice. (I don’t know if not using ice does anything for the environment, but it did something for our budget because the ice maker broke and we never got it fixed!) We also keep reusable water bottles in the fridge to take with us when we go out. (Just make sure to clean them the right way.)
What are your favorite simple, eco-friendly kitchen solutions? Please share! The more easy habits we can implement — and pass on to the kids — the better for everyone, especially Mother Earth. Yes, I just said that. But, hey, we can let our hippie flag fly on Earth Day.
All photos © Anne Wolfe Postic for Cool Mom Eats