It is no secret that 2017 was a pretty wild year for food trends. From the use of rainbows in unicorn grilled cheese, to crazy incorporation of charcoal in black ice cream, there has been quite a spectrum of weird new flavors and techniques to make some pretty incredible dishes. But as these trends come and go, there are some other trends that I hope stay cycling throughout the next year. One such trend is the very green, environmentally sensitive act of Zero-Waste Cooking.

Zero-Waste Cooking is exactly how it sounds and has become quite popular in 2017. It is the task of creating your own meals every day while wasting as little resources as possible. Waste includes packaging, plastic bottles, unnecessary water usage, tossed out leftovers and other resources that could otherwise be reused or recycled.

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On average, Americans waste 40% of the food we produce. Zero-Waste Cooking works to change that statistic. Food thrown in the bin wastes not only money, but also land as leftovers cover our landfills. These excessive amounts of decomposing food creates methane gas which contributes to our current global warming predicament. There are many restaurants around the world that have taken to this initiative and have found that they have increased profits and helped reduce their carbon footprint substantially.

How do they do it? It’s easier than you think. Much of this waste is simply in packaging such as plastic bags, ziploc, disposable bottles and plates. By using reusable containers and cups we can easily cut down the amount of trash we produce in enormous amounts. Take fabric tote bags to the grocery store instead of choosing a plastic bag. Try breaking out those snazzy drink tumblers that can be washed and used again everyday. Instead of wrapping up your lunch in ziplocks, try your hand in preparing your meals in a bento box or some other reusable container. Many stores have a section of their grocery department that allows you to fill what ever container you bring in with different bulk foods such as flour, nuts, trail mix and more. Some people who have taken to this trend will bring in their own sealed glass containers and filled them up for the week and save tons of cash by using this technique.

Another way to reduce waste is simply not buying more than you need, by sticking to a shopping list you never have to worry about buying something that will end up rotting in the fridge uneaten. It is not all about food though. Some people who follow this Zero-Waste lifestyle also refrain as much as possible from buying things brand new such as clothing, by instead buying lots of their clothes from thrift shops and secondhand stores.
Not everyone can commit to an arrangement like this but I think this trend still has some wonderful benefits that I think everyone could take up. It is no secret that the earth is getting warmer and this affects everyone. So if everyone could pitch in just a little bit, I think the world would be a much greener place. So, next time you go to a restaurant, skip the straw, a little goes a long way.

Written by Jade Howe