We are a few months into our sustainability project, and I have learned a lot in that time. The most important lesson is probably that I know very little of what sustainability actually means.
The straight forward definition according to Google, is:
- the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
"the sustainability of economic growth"
- avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
"the pursuit of global environmental sustainability"
So, the definition for me and my family would be:
- to keep our finances in order, save up and be mindful of not wasting money
- to do what we can to stay healthy and happy, both physically and mentally
- to make sure we make organic, durable, long lasting decisions for all our investments, big and small
A challenging commitment
And we are off to a fairly good start. It is challenging more or less every day, but just having made the commitment to ourselves makes us aware of what we buy, and if it is something that we need to have, or if it is only nice to have.
Some of the good things have been:
- I spend less money, because I consider every purchase before I buy
- I am considerably better at recycling
- I always look for organic/sustainable options before I buy
Some things that we struggle with:
- we throw away too much food
- we have really low quality kitchen appliances, that use way too much energy (thanks previous owners!)
Waste not, want not
An almost daily annoyance is the waste of food. So what I am trying to do, is plan my way out of it. I make a weekly meal plan, and try to reuse ingredients in the different dishes. When I look for recipes online I try to use the ones that calculate the amount you need of the different ingredients, and buy only as much as I need. It is a challenge though, because very often things are packed in bulk (Spring onion can apparently only be sold in packs of five!), and the bigger you buy, the cheaper it is. For a small family of three, buying in bulk isn't an option. And when there is only one person in the household that eats liver paté - and said person being the smallest one - throwing some of it out on a weekly basis is almost impossible to avoid. Getting organic liver paté in smaller containers is not possible, as far as I know. But I am slowly getting better, and figuring out little hacks to avoid wasting food. Pro tip: don't go shopping on an empty stomach! It is not good for your wallet, your waste line or the environment...
Making a weekly meal plan, and buying smaller, might not save the planet by itself. But I recon every small step in the right direction, will get you to your goal in the end, and it is definitely worth a try.