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Good ideas start at the dinner table!

Published on
December 10, 2015
Every minute of the day, Montrealers discard enough household waste to fill a compact car. Yet reducing waste is as simple as pie. Start in the kitchen!

Changing your consumption habits is a matter of making careful choices when shopping and rethinking certain behaviours. It may seem trivial, but all it takes is a few simple changes every day to reduce the amount you throw out.

Before going grocery shopping

It may seem insignificant, but asking yourself a few questions before you head out can be helpful. “Am I a little hungry!” Grocery shopping on an empty stomach is a recipe for impulse buying.

“Do I really need to take my car?” Instead, pick up something on the way home from work or load your groceries onto your little one’s sled. Being close to everything is one of the great advantages of living in the city. This way, you support local shopkeepers and reduce your gas consumption. Last but not least: “What will we eat this week?” Meal planning is a great stress reducer. Draw up a grocery list taking into account what you already have in your pantry and refrigerator. (Down with wasting food!) Above all, don’t forget to bring your reusable bags.

At the grocery store

Cut down on excess packaging by choosing fresh produce or products sold in bulk. Processed foods are more expensive and often less healthy.

Keep your children’s lunches in mind when choosing ingredients that can make “great leftovers.”

Finally, opt for seasonal products. They save money and add variety to meals (the Internet has lots of recipe sites and there are plenty of cookbooks at the library).

Smart cooking tastes better

A tip for cooks in a hurry: prepare several recipes at once to save time during the week. Another suggestion: invite friends over! Cooking in a group is great fun. Afterward, dishes and recipes can be shared. Freeze part of your favourite dishes for those stormy nights… or sunny days when you’d rather be outdoors than in the kitchen.

Throw everything into a pot

Peelings are a good source of fibre, minerals and vitamins, so why not use them? A quick glance at the contents of your fridge will tell you if the food is fresh. Fruit looking a little overripe? Turn it into tasty jams and nourishing muffins. Vegetables wilting? Place them in a saucepan and add water and herbs to make a rich all-purpose broth. In the end, all the peelings and table scraps will end up in the brown bin.

For collection times and other practical information on how to change your consumption habits.

 

A LITTLE IMAGINATION IS ALL IT TAKES!

Consuming differently

There are a host of ways to consume differently and reduce your ecological footprint, starting in the kitchen, of course, but also when decorating your home or replacing your wardrobe. Why not give your things a second life instead of tossing them out or make things instead of buying them? For example, you can organize clothing exchange evenings with friends, transform your old torn jeans into a fashion tote or create your own jewellery. There are no limits to your imagination!

Ask at your library or borough office for courses or workshops that will kick-start your creativity.

Did you know?
Vinegar disinfects, dissolves grease, cleans glass and deodorizes. As for baking soda, it neutralizes odours in the fridge and can be used for scrubbing dishes. Best of all, natural products are inexpensive!
Watch for other tips on responsible consumption in an upcoming column.