With global carbon emissions reaching record highs, it’s never been more important to assess our impact on the planet. Canada alone contributes 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions, despite accounting for just 0.5% of the world’s population. Reducing Canada's carbon footprint is an essential part of tackling the climate crisis - time to join the movement!
In this blog, we’ll be sharing some of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint in your own kitchen. No expensive investments and no life-changing sacrifices – just straightforward tips that are proven to make a big difference.
Keep reading to find out more!
How Carbon Footprint is Calculated
Your carbon footprint doesn’t just involve the carbon dioxide you put into the air – it denotes your contribution to all greenhouse gas emissions, including things like methane and Hydrofluorocarbon products (HFC's).
This means there are literally hundreds of lifestyle factors affecting your personal carbon footprint, including what you eat and how you travel. While no carbon footprint calculation can be 100% accurate, these handy predictions can help us to recognize how certain activities impact the planet.
Check out this carbon footprint calculator to work out your personal contribution!
5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint In the Kitchen
1. Eat Less Meat
As well as draining resources and consuming land, meat production has a huge impact on our collective carbon footprint. Believe it or not, the meat and dairy industry accounts for a whopping 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
If everyone in the country reduced their consumption of beef, pork, and poultry by a quarter and substituted plant proteins, we’d save about 82 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
New York Times
And while cutting out meat entirely is the most beneficial approach, simply reducing your consumption can have a significantly positive impact. Red meats such as beef and pork have a much heavier carbon footprint than white-meat counterparts, so swapping out your regular steak for a chicken burger instead is a good place to start.
Some easy ways to eat less meat could include:
- Experimenting with vegan or plant-based versions of your favourite foods
- Adopting a flexitarian diet and only eating meat on special occasions
- Eating at least one vegetarian meal every week
- Cut out just one kind of meat first, then gradually cut out another
- Stay away from ‘meat feast’ options!
Whether you decide to cut out meat completely or simply cut down, any reduction is a positive step towards reducing your personal carbon footprint.
2. Reduce Plastic Packaging
We’re constantly told to reduce, reuse and recycle, but just how strictly are we actually abiding by this? Household kitchens are a hot spot for unmonitored waste, especially when it comes to how our products are packaged.
20,000 plastic bottles are purchased every single second, and the amount of plastic people throw out every year is enough to circle the world four times over!
Striking the right balance between keeping food fresh and reducing our carbon footprint is important, and luckily it’s becoming easier to cut plastic from our grocery shop.
To reduce the plastic in your kitchen, why not try:
- Taking reusable grocery bags to the store to avoid plastic bags
- Investing in a solid water bottle to avoid impulse water purchases
- Buying a cheap water filtration system to keep water fresh in your fridge
- Looking for products packaged in eco-friendly alternatives
- Asking your cashier at the supermarket for paper bags instead of plastic
3. Use the Right Equipment
Did you know that using certain types of cooking equipment can reduce your carbon footprint? Energy waste is a huge issue in kitchens across Canada and the globe. Thousands of people are guilty of using a pan that doesn’t cover their whole hob, or using an oven that’s improperly sealed. While seemingly innocent, these simple habits can have a detrimental effect on energy waste across the planet.
Here are some top tips for choosing the right equipment:
- Shop for pans that cover your whole cooking ring, reducing heat escape
- If your oven is leaking heat, tighten up the door or buy a replace seal
- Ensure your fridge-freezer doors are well-sealed to reduce energy loss
- Ditch the plastic, wood and Teflon for long-lasting cookware
- Don’t throw out your knives when they go blunt - buy a good knife sharpener that makes them cut and slice like new
4. Stop Wasting Food
Canadian food waste is at an all-time high, with almost 2.2 million tonnes of edible food ending up in landfills every year. Whether it’s the scraps on our plates, forgotten treats in the back of the pantry, or meals left to go bad, we’re all guilty of waste. More food in our bins means higher amounts of methane released into the atmosphere (which has a warming potential up to 30X stronger than CO2). Reducing food waste is a must in order to slow down climate change.
Our top tips for cutting down on food waste include:
- Investing in a food recycling device like the FoodCycler to reuse waste and nourish your garden
- Buying less and planning out your purchases more effectively
- Shopping local for seasonal produce (in-season fruit and veg is great for you, and tends to be cheaper!)
- Donating unwanted food to charitable missions
5. Shop Misshapen Produce
While a sad truth, one of the most common reasons why fruit and vegetables go to waste is because they don’t meet modern retail's aesthetic standards. We’ve all browsed the shelves and challenged ourselves to pick out the shiniest apples, or rummaged around for the least dirty potato. But would we continue to shop this way if we all knew its impact on the environment?
Similarly to Canada, 50 million tonnes of misshapen produce is wasted every single year in the UK and Europe. Despite being perfectly edible and tasting exactly the same, we are collectively responsible for throwing away food purely on the basis of appearances. Ending this practice and actively shopping for ‘uglier’ options can minimize your carbon footprint dramatically, as well as reducing waste and ensuring less food ends up in our landfills.
Next time you go to the grocery store, think twice about passing up the funny-looking produce. You’ll be doing something great for the planet.
These are the 5 cheapest and easiest ways to lower your carbon footprint in the kitchen that we found - do you have any others you'd like to share?
Comment below! Or, find out more about the power of food recycling on our website today!