We’ve been thinking a lot about that time period when you start trying to get good or better at something, but you’re nowhere near perfection or the finish line. That’s where most of the hard work or the magic happens.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of “harm reduction,” its origins come from the world of addiction treatment. It’s a framework that focuses on meeting people where they are with the resources they need, vs. waiting for them to be perfect (or in the context of addiction, fully sober) before supporting them. Harm reduction forgoes “best” for “better,” in the name of incremental improvement. We have a similar POV on sustainability at Goldune.
The kitchen is maybe the highest traffic room in the house—which means it’s a great place to start making incremental improvements from a sustainability standpoint. Here are a few ways to get started…
Choosing cookware made from recycled cast iron or stainless steel makes for fewer cheap non-stick pans that end up in landfills because their coating is beginning to peel off. (Cast iron and stainless steel are both infinitely and efficiently recyclable, and don’t have any “coatings” that will warp or peel over time—good for the planet and good for the food you’re cooking.) Next time you’re shopping for cookware, skip the trendy stuff and opt for something durable (and ideally recycled!).
If you’re feeling funny about reaching for the emergency stash of paper towels more often than you like, you don’t have to go totally cold turkey. There’s an in-between for the paper towel lover who wants to send less to landfill: a reusable paper towel that goes in the dishwasher, compost bin or washing machine when you’re done with it.
Short on time but determined to cut back on take-out? Sometimes local markets are not very accessible, or the grocery shopping is just not gonna happen. If you are replacing your grocery store visits entirely with meal delivery kits, you can cut your greenhouse gas emissions per meal by as much as 33%.
Whether you’re just beginning to dabble at the local independent grocery, or an every Saturday morning first-in-liner at your favorite produce stall, keep doing you. Shopping locally significantly reduces two factors in determining a product’s carbon footprint: food miles and packaging. In fact, food miles and packaging account for 20% of energy use in the food system.
As always, let us know if you’ve got ways you’re getting more sustainable in the kitchen—our comment section and email inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) are always open.