my biggest eco-problem areas

If I stop and think about it too much, I will quickly decide that my whole life is one big problem area, eco or not. Below I highlighted some of the points I’d like to tackle first. I think these will be the most impactful ones for now.

Food Waste

Even though it’s been years since I had to feed more than one (occasionally two) people on the regular, I still cook and shop for an entire army. I tried keeping track of how much food I end up throwing out, but it only deepend my depression, so I stopped. And yes, speaking of depression. Sometimes I buy food ‘on a good day’. But the next day ‘the bad day’ hits, and even if I didn’t buy much it rots away, as I don’t have the energy to make anything out of it, or even to process it for freezing. I’ve been trying to battle this by buying smaller packages and frozen foods, but this leads me to the second big issue, discussed further down.

Ways to tackle

  • Realistic meal planning. I recently discovered a wonderful site Meal Prep Mate (and its parent Save the Food), and it gives me the exact amount of foods I need to have in the house to cook up a realistic three-meal menu for 3 to 5 days. It’s very customisable too. I’m in love. Immediately I could see the areas where I’ve been overbuying.

  • Easy recipes with easy ingredients. I actually love cooking and don’t mind spending a couple of hours in the kitchen – but with my current situation it is simply not feasible. Knowing this and realising this are two different beasts, though. I need to start operating on the realisation that most of my meals shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to prepare – and it’s even better if I can whip up several at the same time and freeze them.
  • Buy an occasional ready-to-cook (or how my friends refer to them ‘i love cooking!’) meals and don’t beat myself up. Getting a frozen lasagna, salad kits, or breaded fish sticks is still better than buying lunch in three different plastic containers at the local deli every day for three times the price.

Single Use Plastic

… and other packaging material. If I buy pre-sliced cheese in a small container, it reduces the food waste, but it significantly increases the plastic waste. If I buy pre-washed pre-packaged or frozen produce, chances are higher I will use it up in time or at least keep frozen until ‘a good day’ comes around again – but yeah, the packaging.

Ways to tackle

  • Do the least I could do – start bringing reusable shopping bags again.
  • Keep cutlery at work. I used to do it all. the. time. Why I stopped, I will never know.
  • If single use packaging does make way into this house – remember that not all of it is actually single use. Of course I won’t be reusing cling film or baggies from raw meat, but if I buy a tortilla pack wrapped in plastic – and this is the only way I can buy ready-to-eat tortillas here – I will use that baggie to store something, to shop for produce, or to pack lunch the next day. Single use cutlery isn’t single use either. And my grandmother even used to wash out the straws we drank juice and compote with when I was a kid – and neither me or my brother used to have any problems.

Mindless Descent into Consumerism

“You’ve become such a typical consumer!” exclaimed my brother when we were shopping together. And as much as I wanted to strangle him a little after this (sibling love and all that) – he’s right. I used to be much more thoughtful and careful with my purchases, and even my biggest weaknesses (that’d be beauty, books, and anything with cats) weren’t as out of hand, as they are now. Whether it’s stress and i-deserve-it mentality, a will weakened by information bombardment, or increasing issues with impulse control- Actually, all of the above is issues with impulse control, but I digress.

Ways to tackle

  • I speak about my makeup consumerism in detail on my beauty blog, so I won’t talk much about it here, but in short: shop my stash, project pan, and low-buy.

  • Stop viewing shopping as entertainment. I don’t know when that happened, but it happened – shopping became a form of fun for me. This is going to be a difficult behaviour to change. For now I will focus on stopping whenever I find myself browsing Joom for fun or ‘just checking prices’ for things I had no intention of buying five minutes ago.
  • Focus on debt. If I want to spend my money on something, spend it on that.

I’d really love to develop a low-buy plan for myself and stick to it, but I find that if I try to go on things cold turkey, I just rebound really quickly. On the other hand, if I give myself too many loopholes, I never change my ways. Maybe I need to gamify it. *shudder shudder*

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