Just because something has been used doesn’t mean it can never be used again. If we learn to make the most of what we already have, we find that we don’t end up purchasing unnecessary items when we have things in our home that could do the same job.
Lets Begin with Food One of the greatest contributors to the level of our nation’s food waste is “use by” and “best before” dates. Retailers are legally required to include safe consumption dates or quality dates on their products, but this system of food labelling can lead to many perfectly edible items being thrown away.
We asked our farm visitors and family to see what they thought about this and the general consensus was that using our senses to gauge whether a food is edible or not is a great way to avoid unnecessary waste – with the exception of products with a strict “use by” date.
This applies particularly to vegetables and fruits which often end up in the bin. We can decide when they are no longer edible by feeling and smelling them and recognizing that advisory dates don’t have to be the final say. Please don't eat a moldy strawberry, but if only one has gone bad, you don't necessarily have to throw away the whole pack.
With so much conflicting advice out there, it can be confusing to know where to start. But with small steps that lead to lasting change, making the most of what we’ve got at home can become second nature.
With a little bit of research and observation, we can all begin to recognize when our food is still edible. One of the things that you can do today is make sure you are storing your produce and other food items properly. Some veggies need refrigeration and will last the longest that way while others need counter space. We made another post here explaining more detail on how to store veggies.
Re-use, Re-use, Recycle
Now that you are storing your produce in the best way possible, it would be a good idea to look at some other items in the kitchen. An easy one is to store some of the grocery bags you get from the grocery store to use for other purposes around the house. Examples would be trash liners for small trash cans (bathrooms anyone?), to store used paint brushes or line a paint tray, take lunch to work, pet poop bags (way cheaper), and crafts. Speaking of crafts, take a look through Pinterest for ideas and you will find so many cool things to do with those bags! Two of my favorites are ironing a few of them together to create a very strong tote bag or coasters.
Eventually, you won't find uses for all of the waste items in your home and that's when you should check with your city about their recycling programs. Most cities offer them free of charge as long as you can separate the items into a different bin marked for recycling.
We hope this article has inspired you to inspect your food items and reuse items in your own home as part of living a sustainable life. If you have any ideas or tips on ways you can reuse items at home and be more sustainable in your choices, please leave a comment below. We read all feedback and it’s a great way of highlighting to others any new ways of using less and getting more out of the things we already have.