Downshifting and zero waste fit hand in glove

Filed in Blog by on April 25, 2011 5 Comments
FavoriteLoadingAdd article to favourites
Little Miss Green downshifts with a, erm, pumpkin!

Little Miss Green downshifts with a, erm, pumpkin!

What I love about the whole ‘green’ ethos is how everything is intertwined. By reducing your carbon footprint you’re having an impact on other areas of your life and it really helps you to get a feeling for the connectiveness of life.

This week I’ve been browsing Tracey Smith’s Downshifting week site in honour of her 7th annual downshifing week – your opportunity to create more of a work / life balance.

Among the resources and information on her site is her “top ten tips for downshifting“.

Cook from scratch

I’m seeing tips such as “Ditch the pre-packed options and cook from scratch”. By cooking from scratch you save those pesky plastic containers and film lids from going into landfill AND save money.

Batch cook

Tracey goes on to suggest we batch cook and freeze and use our leftovers in new dishes such as soups. Well what isn’t to love about home made soup? It’s the perfect ‘zero waste’ meal and can help you put an end to food waste because you can use up odds and ends of all sorts of vegetables that might be past their best.

By batch cooking and freezing you can reuse old plastic containers AND you’ll use less fuel to cook and freeze if both your oven and freezer are kept full.

Buy in bulk

The next tip is to buy in bulk. Although Tracey is talking about food, I’ve shown that by purchasing fabric conditioner in a large 1 gallon container I can reduce the weight of packaging by a large proportion. Better still is to find your local Ecover refil centre and see if you can save a lot more packaging.

Grow your own

Tracey advocates the DIY approach to life and tells us that by growing pots of perpetual lettuce in our windowsills we’ll be able to eat salad all summer long. There will be no plastic salad bags to throw away, and no food waste either. In the UK we throw away an astonishing 45% of the prepared salad we buy.

Buy loose produce

She also promotes buying loose fruit and vegetables from local farm shops and making breads, cakes and pizza. Once again you’ll be dramatically reducing your plastic food packaging waste plus you’ll be able to buy and make exactly the amount you need which will automatically reduce any food waste.

So there you have it – zero waste and downshifting; they’re opposite sides of the same coin I reckon 🙂

What do you do at home to combine Downshifting and zero waste?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth’s fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Julie Day says:

    Well, we are growing our own veggies at the moment. Have some chives growing too and hope to cut some later this week to eat. I try to buy loose fruit and veg as much as poss but if it comes in a plastic bag make sure that it can be returned to Sainsbury’s. My mum refills her washing-up liquid, laundry liquid and that at our local Ecover refill station in So Organic at Greenwich. We usually buy a big bottle of handwash and fill up a small one as we go. How about that for downshifting and zero waste.

  2. CarSue says:

    Our friends’ cow birthed a calf with a dislocated hip, which sadly had to be put down after about 6 months. They already had an entire cow in their deep freezer, and offered us the calf (all we did was pay for butchering). So now our deep freeze is filled with beef, which eliminates driving to the store to prepare for a cookout, and we don’t get those annoying foam trays with our meat. We also got all the wonderful bones for soup, and even some organs and tongue, which were cooked, frozen, and ready to become dog food. I’m a vegetarian, but have no problem enjoying this free-range, cruelty free beef raised on organic grass!

    We also grow our own veggies and herbs. Whatever we need but don’t grow ourselves, the farm up the street supplies. They’re in walking distance, and often trade us their melons and corn for surplus green beans from our garden so ours don’t go to waste. We love it!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I use these fantastic string bags http://www.estringbags.com.au all the time. I also those mesh have vegetable bags which are light , easy to use and washable which I stuff in the string bag, chuck in the back of the car or have them in my bicycle basket. I LOATHE plastic bags. And when I forget the bag or something happens and I have to get a plastic on, i feel like I have really “let the side” down.I feel terrible!

  4. Stephanie says:

    I use these fantastic string bags http://www.estringbags.com.au all the time. I also those mesh vegetable bags which are light , easy to use and washable which I stuff in the string bag, chuck in the back of the car or have them in my bicycle basket. I LOATHE plastic bags. And when I forget the bag or something happens and I have to get a plastic on, i feel like I have really “let the side” down.I feel terrible!

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Julie Day: Sounds great Julie. Chives like to be cut and grow back quickly, so enjoy!
    @CarSue: Sounds like a wonderful downshifting life, Sue 🙂
    @Stephanie: The mesh veggie bags are really good and I think it’s good if having to take plastic elicits a feeling; not that it’s good you feel bad, but that the awareness is there because it helps us make more positive choices.

Leave a Reply