In December we hosted a series of Instagram Lives, with our founder Lucy Macnamara talking to a wide range of experts on all things sustainable. They were packed full of so many tips that we’ve started a blog series to share them. If you are interested in making the most of food waste, sustainable cooking ideas and mindful ways to make your food go further then check out some advice from Alexandra Dudley and Liz Earle below.
With chef Alexandra Dudley, and mindfulness and wellbeing expert Liz Earle.
1. Trim less
Beetroot leaves, carrot tops, broccoli stalks all can be re-used with a little imagination. Sauté your beetroot leaves with garlic and chilli and mix with kale, spinach or cavalo nero – delicious. Don’t throw those carrot tops on the compost – recycle them in a homemade pesto for a new lease of life.
2. Be inventive
Look in your fridge and see what you can be creative with. Why not create stock with your left-over prawn shells? Mix with fennel and parsley stems and then freeze to go with a risotto. You don’t have to relegate your ripe bananas to the compost, just turn them into breakfast pancakes.
3. Every ingredient is precious
See how far you can stretch an ingredient to get the most from it, for example boil mint with new potatoes to give a permeated mintness. Pop that solitary black banana in the freezer and add the next black banana until you have enough to make a banana loaf. Make a coulis with berries, freeze and have it ready for a quick pudding with ice cream and crumbled Amaretti biscuits. Turn opened un-used double cream into butter with a 5-minute shake in a jar.
4. Eat seasonally and support locally
Eating locally grown, seasonal fruit and veg means better value, better taste and a better deal for the planet. However, it’s not always as black and white to think that if something isn’t grown here then it isn’t sustainable. Take bananas for example, a sustainable crop transported by ship - whereas asparagus and blueberries imported by air from Peru are not so great on our eco footprint. Where possible try and eat seasonally.
5. Compost as our last destination
When you have re-purposed, been creative, frozen and generally fully exhausted the life of your fruit and veg the final destination is compost. Compost helps reduce your kitchen waste, keeps organic materials out of landfill and it’s free! Your own compost can then extend the life of some of your herbs and salad, for instance your supermarket basil plant that’s starting to wilt, replant in your compost and give it a new lease of life. Try worm composting, an efficient method of turning kitchen waste and small amounts of garden waste into nutrient-rich compost. You can buy composters and wormery’s online from Amazon or your local garden centre.
Mindfulness and wellbeing expert, @lizearleme, discussed ethical buying and the changes she has made over the last few years. Below are a handful of her ideas for eating well, you can find more on Lizearlewellbeing.com which draws on respected research and trusted expertise to provide balanced advice for a healthy life.
2. From microbiome to toilet paper
uk.whogivesacrap.org provide 100% recycled paper and help build toilets for people who need them. A feel-good, do-good toilet roll.
3. Give homemade bread a try
Jump on the sourdough bandwagon that started last lockdown and make your own sourdough - all you need is flour, water and lots of time and you can satisfy that carb craving without messing with your microbiome.
4. Become more flexible in your diet
Swap meat for veg a few nights a week and if your budget allows choose free-range organic meat from the likes of GraigFarm.co.uk.
5. Start shopping better
How sustainable is your food shop? There are lots of great options to make more sustainable choices like wonkyvegboxes.co.uk - wonky veg boxes, great taste, less waste.
6. Use pester power and vote with your purse
Send that email or go on social media to challenge brands to change their wasteful packaging.
7. Keep up those habits from lockdown
Keep gardening, baking and growing your own vegetables. Even if you don’t have a lot of outside space you can still have fun with tomatoes in a hanging basket, potatoes in a bucket and micro greens on your windowsill.
Plus some extra tips for general living:
8. Put fabrics under the spotlight
Look for brands who create products from sustainable materials. Aspiga have moved over 90% of our cotton to organic GOTS certified cotton. Where we have been unable to source organic cotton for particular items, we have donated to Water Harvest, a program that provides life-saving water tanks for the most deprived communities in Delhi and Jaipur.
We have also introduced a capsule collection this year made from LENZING viscose which has been certified as compostable and biodegradable as well as being sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests.
We have stopped buying polyester and plastic-based materials throughout the entire Aspiga Collection.
9. Do your research
When buying jewellery think about its provenance, don’t be afraid to ask questions when shopping. Knowledge is power and the more we know the wiser our choices can be. Liz Earle Fair and Fine is an award-winning range of ethically sourced, fair trade gold botanical jewellery.
10. Repair, Re-use, Free cycle and Recycle.
If you are unsure how best to do this then just use your search engine for a helpful online tutorial …‘how do I repair/re-use…’
For more tips on health, wellbeing and sustainability look at Liz's website.
If this has inspired you to strive for an eco-friendly life, watch more of the Instagram Sustainable Lives series here.