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Published on June 29th, 2018 | by Sponsored Content

Is it Possible to Go Vegan and Be Waste-Free?

The number of vegans has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks in no small part to the “woke” millennial generation. A general trend towards ethical living has surfaced too, with more and more consumers worrying about their carbon footprints, and their impact on the wider world. Because of this, more people and businesses are looking into living plastic-free, and even zero-waste lifestyles. A general distaste towards unnecessary plastic packaging and plastic straws proves this.

But for the more ethically conscious of the population, how difficult is it to consume completely ethically, adopting a waste-free and vegan lifestyle? Here we’ll look at how this can be achieved, and some of the bigger problems surrounding the movement.

Zero-Waste Shopping can Help Reduce Packaging

One of the biggest issues with reducing how much waste you produce is the packaging that inevitably comes with anything you purchase. Consumers who are passionate about reducing waste have already started hitting back.

In March 2018, shoppers at Tesco in Bath staged a “plastic attack” as a protest against the amount of plastic packaging in the store. The 25-strong group of protesters paid for their groceries after a weekly shop, and then proceeded to remove all the plastic packaging to leave in the store for staff to deal with.

Brands and entrepreneurs have started to take note, and many are now offering a more waste-free experience. BYO shops have started opening up around the world. These shops allow you to take your own reusable packaging to bulk buy groceries. Pre-made and pre-packaged foods are banned.

Many businesses are doing their best to offer minimal packaging. British-based company Huel, for example, sell their vegan powdered meals in large pouches that offer a long shelf-life and keep the amount of trash produced to a minimum. There are also delivery companies which offer zero-waste vegan milk alternatives, like a traditional milkman, such as the London-based Mylkman. This brand delivers nut-based milks around London in glass bottles, which are then collected to be reused. These often have paper tags and labels attached, however, meaning they’re not completely waste free, but are still a step in the right direction for the ethically-minded.

Freezing and preserving food can reduce food waste

According to a recent study, roughly one third of the food produced in the world gets lost or wasted every year. This is the equivalent of more than half of the world’s annual cereals crop, while around 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to afford a meal. The best way to overcome this would be to only buy the food you actually need, and freeze the food you already have to ensure it lasts for as long as possible. Bulk buying, while cheaper in the long run, can cause more food to go off as it takes you longer to consume it. In these cases, bulk buying should only be done for dry ingredients that last up to a year, such as grains and legumes. For other foods, you may choose to freeze them, or preserve them yourself. Fruit can be used to make jams and conserves, while vegetables can be pickled to increase the shelf life.

This need to be more conscious and reduce waste as much as possible has moved beyond the home. In New York City, a growing group of “freegans” are taking to the streets to go through rubbish bags in a practice known as “dumpster diving” in order to do their grocery shopping. While many bags contain general waste, some contain perfectly edible food that has been thrown away, including from expired sell-by dates from restaurants. This practice is picking up around the world, and also includes foraging for wild food and gardening for personal food. In any case, simply donating unwanted or unneeded food to homeless shelters or food banks can work to reduce the amount of food wasted. This also provides relief to those in need.

Going waste-free may initially be a drastic culture shock, and will make you think about how we package and buy food on a large scale. But it’s become much easier to do with the increase in ethical living amongst the younger generations. As the zero-waste movement picks up, it’s becoming easier than ever to buy plastic-free and vegan, lessening the carbon footprint in the world.

This post is sponsored by Huel; images from their Instagram




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