I love the idea of zero waste, sustainable and green living but implementing these practices in Dubai is sometimes easier said than done. So, in my own little way, I have been making changes to my own lifestyle and habits. Previously I had written about shopping from a sustainable perspective and now we are on to eating. Under eating I have included cooking, ordering food and eating out .
Let’s talk about the kitchen:
Did you know that food waste in the UAE is about 35% and even more over Ramadan? Eeep! So what can you do?
1. First and foremost is to meal plan.
- Figure out what you want to prepare for the week, I generally look at the work week, and then shop according to my needs.
2. Use up scraps or left overs
- Scraps, which may not sound appetizing, are great in a soup. I like to keep a container in my freezer with chopped up vegetables which can be used for soups. As I live alone something like a whole bunch of celery for example can be daunting but not if I chop it and freeze the leftovers to be used in a soup for the future. You can do the same if you bought to many carrots, potatoes etc. Chop and freeze and they will hold for a couple of months.
- Left overs are great to take to work for lunch and not only will you not waste food by it is also more economical.
3. Proper food storage.
- Even with your best meal planning and prepping if you do not store your food properly it can spoil quicker, attract pests etc. I like to use sealing clips to properly closed all my bagged dry goods. These ones from IKEA are a great choice.
- Composting is a great option especially if you have a villa with garden or a larger balcony with plants. Here is an article on how to make your own compost bin. Even if you do not have your own bin or the capacity to do so maybe you have a friend who would be happy to take your organic waste.
Let’s talk about ordering in/eating out:
According to KPMG’s 2016 Food and Beverage report 3 out 4 survey respondents order a take away or have food delivered at least once a week. That is a lot of plastic cutlery. So what can you do?
1. Say no to the extras.
- Whether you order delivery or take away tell them you do not require cutlery, napkins, straws and, if possible, condiments like ketchup and mayo.
2. Ask if you bring your own container for take away.
3. Say no to straws at restaurants. You can also bring your own reusable straw if you want.
5. If you know you will not be able to finish your meal ask for part of it to go. Bonus points if you bring your own container.
6. Try to walk to local restaurants even if ordering in and save yourself some petrol.
As well, as brunch is a Dubai institution, why not host a brunch at home? According to KPMG 66% of respondents have brunch at least once a month. Make it a potluck and have everyone bring their own, home made dishes. Play some great music and enjoy the time together.