52 Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint – 6. Preparation is Key

As Bruce Lee once told us “Preparation for tomorrow is hard work today.”

And when I talk about doing the hard work today to be ready for tomorrow, I am of course talking about food shopping.

For those of you interested in reducing waste, it seems like food shopping today has become a fight to the death (For me at least). We have single banana’s wrapped  in plastic, pre-peeled oranges and whole counters of “organic” produce, all wrapped in plastic. This is just the fresh food section, the rest of the food is even more tightly wrapped, bound and secured forever in plastic upon plastic.

So, what to do?

Well, to be honest, even though it would be nice, I don’t have the time or inclination to try and eliminate all the plastic from my food shopping. In fact, it is pretty much impossible here in Taiwan. But there are a few simple things you can do and you could reduce your waste by up to 80%. (Ooooh, gasp, I hear you say).

So let’s get to it.

  1. Think about where to shop first! – I mean really think about it. If your go-to store is the kind that wraps single bananas in plastic or dishes out plastic bags like they are candy, then it doesn’t really help your cause. If this is the case, then go somewhere else. And before you say it, if you didn’t have enough time to go an extra 10 minutes to the next store you probably wouldn’t have time to read my blog ;). So, if you can find a store that already considers waste in their products, then they are doing half of your job for you.
  2. Plan your meals – Simple really. If you just buy stuff when you are hungry or ‘wing it’, chances are you are going to be wasting a heap of food. This is expensive and a bit pointless.
  3. Buy in bulk – Buying in bulk, especially dry goods, reduces the amount of packaging you need significantly. It is also cheaper.
  4. Stir fry – It has been scientifically proven (maybe…) that when any kind of food scraps are chopped up and added to a wok, then fried in oil with a little garlic and ginger, they become tasty and wholesome. Saving you money (again) and waste.
  5. Sell by dates – If you have food with a date stamp that is past due, don’t automatically throw it out, smell it first. After all, this is what our noses were invented for! If it smells bad or looks off (Unless it is blue cheese or century eggs or something), only then get rid of it. The date stamp is there as a guide and a legal disclaimer for people who manage to eat rotten food due to a nose that doesn’t work very well.
  6. Notice that we haven’t even been shopping yet – This is preparation for you!
  7. Bags – So now it is finally time to leave to go shopping and you are going to need to take some bags. Below is a photo of the bags we take when we go shopping. All of this fits nicely into one bag, which I have ready to go next to the door.
    1. Some waterproof containers for wet things like seaweed or salads or other deli items.
    2. Small plastic bags for veggies, mushrooms, nuts etc… (Leftover from previous shopping trips)
    3. Cooler bag for the frozen food (An old gift bag)
    4. Re-usable carry bags for putting everything in (All collected from events or friends)

one brown planet, food shopping, preparation, reduce waste

That’s it really. Nothing too difficult. As for most of these tips, it really just takes a little bit of planning and awareness of the issues. Once you get started, there are many more ways you can reduce your waste, but that is for another day  🙂


There are so many ways in which we can help reduce our environmental footprint but with so much going on it is hard sometimes to remember. Rather than remember, the best way is to form a habit and the best way to form a habit is by utilising the 3 R’s:

  1. Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
  2. Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
  3. Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)

Each week, for 52 weeks, we will post a new idea to help you reduce your waste and work towards a cleaner less polluted lifestyle. Hopefully, by the end, some of the idea’s will become habitual and stick with you forever. Consider this to be your gift to the world.

#reducewaste #environmentalfootprint #onebrownplanet