A well-stocked pantry can be a source of comfort for some. When you know you have products on your shelves to nourish your family, you can feel good about yourself. But, why not take things one step further and choose to sustainably stock your pantry?
There are plenty of swaps you can make to create a more sustainable, eco-friendly pantry. From the food you choose to the packaging things come in, a few simple changes can go a long way in taking care of the environment, as well as your family’s well-being.
With that in mind, let’s cover some of those changes and how you can start implementing them right away to create a pantry that can have a positive impact on the environment, and can teach your children sustainable living practices they can carry with them into adulthood.
One of the easiest ways to be more sustainable with your pantry is to switch where you buy your food. There are some things you might not be able to find anywhere but a local grocery store, but items like meat, dairy products, and produce can often be found at local farmer’s markets, produce stands, or even directly from farmers if you know someone locally.
What difference does it make?
Where you shop has an impact on the price of food. Consider the price of fuel and delivery fees. Those costs get passed on to consumers so the businesses selling the products don’t take a hit. The greater the demand for a product, the higher the price is likely to go.
But, transportation doesn’t just impact your wallet — it impacts the planet. Think about the trucks that have to transport produce from one area of the country to another, or items shipped in from other countries to your local grocery store. Each of those forms of transportation is spitting out carbon emissions that can contribute to climate change.
Shopping locally or directly from farmers can reduce the dependency we have on that kind of transportation. It’s better for the environment, and often better for you. When you’re able to work directly with local growers and farmers, you know exactly where your food is coming from. Small farms often practice organic growing and take good care of their animals. You’re more likely to find things like free-range eggs and grass-fed beef, which are all farming and ranching practices that are better for the planet.
Where you buy your food matters, but how it’s packaged and stored also makes a big difference. An easy swap that can make your pantry more sustainable is to avoid single-use plastics and materials that can’t be recycled as much as possible. Some of the biggest benefits of eco-friendly food packaging include:
- It’s easily reused and recycled
- It’s free of toxins
- You’ll reduce your carbon footprint
- You’ll save money
- It minimizes waste
Consider buying items in bulk, including flour, rice, and most grains. You can purchase them with reusable bags and store them in plastic or glass containers in your pantry. Not only will it make these items easier to see, but you’ll be cutting down on packaging waste and likely saving money.
Another important part of living sustainably is reducing waste. A well-organized pantry can help with that. We’ve all experienced having to get rid of expired products we “forgot” about or simply couldn’t see because they were buried somewhere in the back of the pantry. Not only is that a waste of money, but food waste is a huge problem across the globe, and the last thing you want to do is contribute to it because of clutter or disorganization.
Thankfully, organizing your pantry to keep your food safe and accessible is easier than you might think.
First, make sure you have enough space for everything you want to store. If you don’t have a lot of space in your home, consider transforming some shelves in your garage into a food storage area, or creating a food storage shed specifically designed to keep your items easy to access at any time.
Other tips that can make your pantry more organized include:
- Storing specific types of canned goods on different shelves
- Keeping produce like onions and potatoes in a dry environment
- Storing sugar and flour in airtight containers
- Storing nuts in airtight containers
A good rule of thumb is to keep your storage area away from sunlight and moisture. These elements can cause food to spoil faster, or they could change the taste and texture of some of your stocked goods.
By keeping things in reusable jars or containers, you will easily be able to see where they are so you can grab your ingredients quickly. Go one step further by labeling everything with dates, so you’ll know how quickly each ingredient needs to be used.
Stocking your pantry sustainably is a great way to reduce food waste, do something good for the planet, and benefit yourself and your family all at once. Keep these tips in mind to make eco-friendly changes, and you might be surprised by how quickly you fall in love with your pantry!
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