Leading a zero-waste lifestyle has become increasingly popular as many attempt to reduce their impact on the environment. A fundamental way to do so is to avoid packaging and food waste by visiting your local health or bulk food store and filling up your own re-usable jars from the bulk bins. What’s great about this approach is that it’s not only much better for the environment, but also for your health – you’re avoiding processed foods, preservatives, additive and other nasties. In addition, skipping the packaging is often kinder to your bank balance.
The Source Bulk Foods is my local health food store which stocks a wide range of organic Australian grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, oil, teas and various ethical homewares/gifts. Though the store has always been a short walk from my house, the neighbouring Woolworths and my limited student budget meant that while I longed to purchase my food from the store, I often opted for the option of purchasing canned legumes, packaged grains and organic nuts and seeds from the supermarket. But it has been my goal to reduce my waste as much as possible and after going through so many cans, I decided that I needed to stop putting it off and actually purchase my legumes dried so that I could then soak them and cook them from scratch. This process isn’t as timely as you might think as all you have to do is soak the legumes in water overnight and then heat them over the stove as you’re preparing the other components of your lunch/dinner. I do this in a big batch and then freeze the leftovers. After realising that it was cheaper to purchase legumes this way and that I produced zero waste by doing so, I decided to move onto the other staples of my diet.
Below is the results of my zero-waste grocery haul. I already had chia seeds, hemp seeds, organic rolled oats, brown rice and tahini at home, so I stocked up on the following:
- Red split lentils
- Organic Australian chickpeas
- Black turtle beans
- Organic brazil nuts (though these are quite expensive, they are well worth it as 1-2 a day meets your selenium requirements)
- Organic tri-coloured quinoa
- Raw organic buckwheat
- Crunchy peanut butter (made fresh on site with no added nasties – the almond, cashew and macadamia butters are to die for too!)
- Organic coconut oil (to make some DIY beauty products)
- Organic apple cider vinegar
One of the best things about shopping in this way is that you can purchase as much or as little as you need. Even though your initial purchases may be more expensive, you will eventually build up a stocked pantry and then can simply purchase as you run out (or as a new recipe calls for new ingredients)! Buying in this way also increases food transparency as you are most often able to obtain information about where the food has come from and whether or not it is organic.
So here’s to a zero-waste revolution! I hope you’re inspired to find your nearest health food store and start doing your bit to minimise your environmental footprint and maximise your health.