So, this week may seem like a non sequitor after the last two weeks of draught busting, water tank jacketing and LED light installation. But food is the third biggest consumer expenditure for most of us. Home energy fuels come in eighth, by the way. Shelter and transportation are 1 and 2 respectively, so initial choices one makes when buying a home (most flats use a LOT less energy than detached houses) and car (how many litres is your car engine?? And if you don’t have a car then that’s fantastic!) have a lock-in impact on your total energy consumption. But these are purchases that most folks don’t make too often. Food however, is a daily choice, and one with “hidden” energy costs. Food is also the one area where the average consumer has the most flexibility to change habits and reduce carbon footprints.
This week is all about food and household spending that we all make daily. With a few things to keep in mind, we can all make significant inroads towards lowering our total energy consumption.
Where was your food produced, and how many miles on an airplane did it travel to reach you? Was it grown in another hemisphere, or is it in season and grown locally?
How was your food produced and what energy went into producing fertilizers to grow it? Is it from your garden or certified organic or intensively farmed?
How much packaging has your food come in? Did it come in plastic trays, wrapped in plastic and slid into a dardboard box or did you touch the food with your fingers and put it into your own reusable bag?
Are you eating meat, vegetarian or vegan?
Is your long-term food in a steel or aluminium can, glass jar or frozen? Will you need to keep the food in a refrigerator or freezer, or can you put it in your cupboard until you finish eating it?
Did you bake your food for hours in a hot oven, on the hob/stove, or did you eat it raw?
Did you throw away any left-overs in the bin/trash? Did you compost the inedible parts of your fruit and veg, your teabags, coffee grounds and egg shells or did you “gasp” throw them away?
See, there really are tons of choices we make that have energy impacts! This is really just the tip of the iceberg. One could get a PhD, studying this topic. And in fact, I know someone who is!
Lots of tasty and chemical-free goodness will be forthcoming this week! Yippie!!