Spoiler: You do not have to change a lot. It’s the little things that count.
1. Buy regional & organic products.
You could visit your local and farmers markets. While doing so you might also discover new places around your town. In supermarkets, it is important to check labels where your food is coming from. If possible choose organic and fairly-produced options.
2. Buy seasonal fruits and veggies from your region.
Find a seasonal calendar for fruits and vegetables for Western and Northern Europe for example here or for the U.S. check this page. There are many more websites. If you are interested in more you can just search up “seasonal fruits and veggies + your country”
3. Buy food without plastic packaging.
Yes, in the beginning, it is VERY hard since kinda everything is wrapped in plastic nowadays. However, just look for different options like a different supermarket or unpacked fruits and veggies. Bring your own bag and do not use single-use plastic bags.
4. Eat vegan or vegetarian.
It is the best and most effective way to live sustainably. You don’t have to do it every day. It also matters a lot if you reduce your meals with meat and fish from 7 times a week to 6, from 6 to 5, 5 to 4, and so on.
5. Drink tap water.
If it is safe in your country to drink tap water just go for it. You’ll save lots of money and produce less waste. If it is not possible due to dangers of health try to buy water in glass bottles instead of plastic.
6. Bring your own lunch/tupperware box.
Eating less convenience food and going for homemade food instead produces less waste. However, it is totally fine if you are too lazy to cook and just want to order food online. But instead of going for your regular habit try going to the place you wish to order from and bring your own lunch/tupperware box. Most delivery services pack everything in plastic and again produce tons of waste and plastic.
The same applies to your reusable coffee cup when you just cannot live without your daily coffee to go. We feel you. But really, just try to remember to bring your own cup next time.
7. Freeze your food and leftovers.
Freeze fruits and vegetables in summer and use them in winter. This preserves most of the vitamins and minerals and keeps the natural flavour.
Other options besides freezing are canning, preserving, pickling and drying.
If there is something left from dinner, it is best to freeze the leftovers. Especially if you have to go fast the leftovers can be quickly reheated.
8. Grow your own fruits, veggies and herbs.
You don’t need a green thumb, garden or field. Just go for it and try it!
9. Only buy what is needed.
One-third of the world’s food production ends up in the garbage and we have to change it. Only buy as much as you actually consume. If you want to shop more environmentally conscious and eat more sustainably, check your supplies at home before you buy new food and don’t go to the supermarket hungry.
The best-before date indicates until when a product retains at least its quality – i.e. taste, appearance and smell. If a food product does not show any visible changes, you can still eat it even after this date has passed.
10. Try apps against food waste.
With apps such as toogoodtogo, ShareTheMeal, ResQ Club cafés and restaurants publish their leftovers, and you can buy them for half of the price or even less.
In some cities there are also Facebook food sharing groups where people give away food, they don’t like but do not want to throw it away. Try it if you can find one in your city. You will also save money.
+ 1 Don’t stress yourself too much about perfection.
You can’t and won’t be perfect. Don’t stress yourself too much. Remember when millions of people are doing a little it’s better than when one person is living 100% sustainable.
“Sustainability is about consistency, not perfection”