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Ask The Allergy Chef: Plastic Waste

Ask The Allergy Chef: How to Reduce Waste During Food Prep?

    We do a lot of food prep, but I find there’s a lot of plastic waste. Any tips?

    First, pick your battles. Having safe food is the war you want to win. If the plastic battle is overwhelming, ignore it until you have the bandwidth to do more.

    Shop farmer’s markets. There’s a lot less plastic there. I still to this day don’t understand why some stores wrap produce in plastic containers…. 

    When you shop at grocery stores, use paper bags when bagging produce. If you can, invest in reusable shopping bags. That can help you feel less wasteful. Personally, I try to do that, but generally forget to bring the bags in; however, I make it a point to reuse the paper bags at home for all sorts of things.

    Invest in reusable containers. This one is going to take a while because there’s a significant cost, especially if you want to go with glass. Even silicone is pretty pricey. Go at your own pace. Over time, you’ll have a collection of storage container. Keep in mind though, the flip side is that you’re doing more dishes (electricity and water consumption). So make sure this is worth it to you.

    Personally, I take a blended approach. First, when shopping, I never use plastic bags for things like produce. When I prep produce and some other ingredients, I store them in disposable corn free plastic baggies. Once I cook, leftovers are stored in reusable glass containers. On top of that, for a long time, the kids ate off of paper plates and bowls. This was done to reduce potential allergen exposure (mixed allergy household) and to cut down on dishes. There are some days where we do 4 loads in a day. That’s a lot of water/electricity consumption.

    You’ll have to find a balance that works for you. For me, I don’t feel bad about the approach I’ve chosen. You’ll find your happy medium too.

    Happy Prepping!
    ~The Allergy Chef

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