Let’s talk sustainability.
As a first time LBL-er, I’m not gonna lie - I’m a little nervous. Not only because it's a new challenge, but it also got me thinking about how I would fit it into my current lifestyle.
You see, for years now I’ve tried my best to be sustainable and generate as little waste as possible. It’s been no easy feat and, let’s be honest, a certain amount of privilege does make it easier - a person trying to make ends meet might not have sustainability as a big priority and that’s okay. Being environmentally friendly is a journey unique to each individual.
But it did get me thinking about the accessibility of the sustainability movement. Much of it is buying things that last longer but cost more and this is something that simply isn’t feasible for everyone, but there are other ways to be environmentally friendly that shouldn’t come with extra cost.
So, in what my parents would call typical bull-headed Sam fashion, I will not be compromising my belief in a better greener earth in the face of a small budget. You might still be apprehensive about this and trust me, my partner was the same when I first told him. I swear even my cat scoffed at me (rude!). But it is possible and although it won’t be pretty or perfect, we need more people being imperfectly sustainable rather than a small group living completely zero waste. And no, you won’t need to buy anything extra or live like one of those zero waste Instagram influencers.
So, how can we do LBL sustainably?
Today, I thought I’d share some of my favourite kitchen tips that everyone doing LBL can easily incorporate into their challenge week (and beyond!). Much of having a sustainable kitchen is really about being creative and using as much as you can. Once you get the hang of things, it’s actually pretty easy and hey, it might even help you maximise your food supply!
Sustainable LBL Tips
Shop at a bulk store where possible
These stores allow you to buy as little or as much as you want which is great when you’re budgeting. Although their prices aren’t always the cheapest around, if you only need 5g of sugar it might be more budget friendly to bulk shop anyways. They also allow you to bring your own containers, eliminating any packaging waste.
Scrap Soup Stock
I store vegetable off-cuts and peels in a reusable bag or container in the freezer and, when it’s full, I make vegetable stock! A snack soup might just help you survive LBL when you’re running on fumes. You can save anything from onion skins to the end bits of carrots that you’d normally chop off.
Once you have vegetable scraps from your first day or so of LBL, boil it up with some water and a few pinches of salt for about 3 - 4 hours and let it steep overnight. Strain it the next day and you’ve got stock ready for a bowl of simple vegetable soup!
Before you run off and buy your bases, think about making your own. Of course, not everything home-made is cost effective. But if you’re not going to use up a whole box of pasta, buying flour instead means you have the ability to make portions that suit you.
My plan is to bake my own sourdough loaf, which comes up to under $2, and use the extra flour to make a pizza base. Plus, it's a good chance to try your hand at baking bread - if iso hasn’t pushed you towards that already, now’s the time!
And this doesn’t apply to just bases. Rather than spending $4 on oatmilk, buy some oats at the bulk store and make your own! I know it sounds crazy but I can guarantee that it's not only environmentally friendly but saves you some coin.
Make every bit count
Did you know that vegetables like celery, lettuce, bok choy, and spring onions can be regrown into a vegetable scrap garden with just some water? You won’t be able to reproduce a whole head of lettuce or a complete bunch of bok choy but combining all the little bits you grow will help you make the most of your produce.
Simply put the ends of your used vegetables into a tray of water near some sunlight and watch as it sprouts! It will take about a week so be sure to do this as early as possible and you’ll have the bragging rights of having actually grown vegetables.
I hope these tips help you complete the challenge in a more sustainable way. Not only will we be kinder to mother earth - I mean, she’s definitely had a tantrum every waking moment of 2020 - but some of these tips will actually end up saving you some money. Plus, I know I’ll enjoy getting the satisfaction of giving my cat a very pointed ‘I told you so’ look.
Sending love from a cute kitty,