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5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

Don’t you hate discarding food when it’s past its ‘best before’ date? Here are five tips for reducing the amount of food that goes into the trash.

  1. Store your food properly

Store food that will go stale (i.e. nuts, chips, cereal, crackers, raisins etc.) in airtight containers using KORKEN jar or IKEA 365+ dry food jar to keep them fresh for longer. Remove the packaging from fruits and vegetables and place them into paper bags or non-airtight containers. To keep herbs fresh, put them in a glass of water.

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  1. Organize your fridge

Keep things neat and visible. When we can’t see them, we forget what’s in the fridge. Use transparent canning jars and food storage containers like FORTROLIG food containers, and stack them so everyone can see them. Remember to move the older produce to the front, so we can consume those items first.

  1. Be creative with your recipes

Make ‘end of peak’ produce into something awesome! Banana bread, smoothies, jams or mixed fruit punch. For the adventurous foodie, try pickling or canning using a KORKEN jar.

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  1. Shop smart

Plan meals before going to the grocery store. Bring your list and stick to the list. That will avoid impulse buys.

  1. Eat leftovers

Instead of cooking a new meal everyday, it saves time, water and energy to cook bigger portions and brown bag the leftovers with IKEA 365+ food container for lunch.

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My experience:

I have put these 5 tips in place and use them almost everyday for a couple of weeks now. The results have been quite rewarding. Not only have I reduced the amount of waste going into the garbage, I have saved money from not buying lunch every day. It is very interesting to see myself being more cautious on what I purchase and think more creatively on how to use every bit of ingredient. Living more sustainably is a mindset. Once I have the concept in my mind, doing them everyday is easy!

* Above tips on reducing food waste were inspired by STABIL – Our Food – Naturally! book.

Shopping Time!

To kick start the IKEA Canada Sustainable Living Project, I have selected a list of IKEA products to help us achieve our sustainability goals. I am looking for stylish, easy to use and compact (we live in a condo) items that can save energy, save water, reduce waste, and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Here are the products I have selected:

products_v2Healthy Living

Choosing products that promote healthy living and fitting them into my everyday life is easy. I want to start by bringing more plants into our condo. For a food lover like me, there is nothing better than fresh herbs. How about growing my own herbs at home? I can enjoy fresh herbs whenever I need them and only pick the amount I need. So, I picked up the IKEA PS 2014 greenhouse, BITTERGURKA watering can, BITTERGURKA plant pot, RISATORP basket, and RIMFORSA bamboo basket.

With a baby at home, reading has become a huge part of our lives. I do not limit her to just baby books. I sometimes read aloud books that I am currently reading. Why not pick up a few books on green living like STABIL – OUR FOOD – NATURALLY and ANVÄNDBAR – KINDER HOMES? Mommy can get some ideas on how to be kinder to the Earth and baby can take a break from Peter Rabbit’s adventures.

Reduce Food Waste

This project led me to start thinking about how much food waste we currently produce. When I do my periodic fridge clean up, I often end up discarding food that are past their ‘best before’ date. I ask myself why did I shop this much? Maybe my fridge is too disorganized that I forget what was in it? Did the food go bad because I do not preserve it properly? All these questions suddenly made me realize that perhaps my habits and lifestyle choices required some adjustments. Using these questions as guidelines, I was able to find IKEA solutions that would help me reduce food waste, like airtight food containers, jars for pickling and canning, and lunch boxes for leftovers, etc. Here is a list of products I have selected: IKEA 365+ food container, EFTERFRÅGAD vacuum food container, JÄMKA food Container, FORTROLIG food container, KORKEN jar, and KORKEN bottle.

Waste & Recycling

Plastic bags and disposable batteries are extremely toxic to the environment. A plastic bag takes anywhere from 10 to 100 years to decompose. The outer layer of a battery takes 100 years to decompose, and the chemicals within the battery never decompose. After learning these facts, there is no way I would buy disposable batteries or ask for a plastic bag when I shop ever again. So, for this project, I picked up the STORHOGEN battery charger, some LADDA rechargeable batteries, and ANVÄNDBAR bags.

Babies are messy, so instead of wasting paper towels to clean her high chair table all the time, I picked up some ANVÄNDBAR dish cloths. As an added bonus to the Earth-friendliness of the item, all of the cotton in IKEA’s products now comes from more sustainable sources. Good to know.

Water & Energy Saving 

There are so many ways to save water and energy while cooking. Why not prepare different foods at the same time using only one pot? The STABIL steamer insert and STABIL boiling insert are exactly what I’m looking for! Also, let’s make a great stew or soup using the VÄRDESÄTTA pressure cooker to save some cooking time and energy. Oh, how about using the beautifully designed ANVÄNDBAR clay pot and SENSUELL pot to cook and serve dinner directly from the pot? Yes please! And one less dish to wash!

Conserving rinsing water from fruits and vegetables using the GRUNDVATTNET colander is another great way to save water. The water can go back to our plants and rinsing food in a basin will use less water compared to washing them under running water.

LED bulbs use up to 85% less energy and last up to 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs. For our new additions of light fixtures, we have chosen products that only use LED. In fact, all the lighting products that IKEA sells are LED. So, I decided to pick up the FINFIN LED decorativelLight, LJUSA LED flashlight and RIGGAD LED work lamp.

More…

These are just quick ideas of some of the IKEA solutions that support my sustainable living. At least that is how I imagine the products would help me. In future posts, I will show you how to put them to good use in real life. There may be some success stories where products turned out exactly how I imagined and there may be some epic failures. Stay tuned…

Meet The Ko Family

Living sustainably is a lifestyle, culture and habit. When there are so many material things in front of us, we would never think about the future. I was like this until I had my first born, then everything changed.

Hi, I’m Rebecca. We are the Ko family. Our family consists of me, my husband Dennis (the man of the house), and our daughter Emma (the real boss of the house).

We are an urban family living in a Downtown Toronto condo. We are big fans of minimalism when less is always more but sustainable living was quite foreign to us until we joined IKEA Canada’s Sustainable Living Project. Through this project, we started to learn about how to efficiently use the Earth’s natural resources (food, energy or water) and reduce the amount of waste. However, learning about it was just the first step, putting it to practice is the real challenge. IKEA has kindly supported us with a number of products and solutions for more sustainable living. Through these sustainable solutions, we are hoping to achieve these goals:

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For the next few months, you will see us putting these solutions into practice and hopefully turning them into habits. In the end, when our baby grows up, she will see living sustainably is a normal way of life. So, join us in our adventure in living sustainably…