New Year, a marker for new beginnings and resolutions! January is always the time of year to reconsider habits and routines. One popular New Years resolution is to master the art of eating more of what our mind and body desires!
In this fast-paced world living well and having a clean diet happens to be a luxury, something everyone is trying to stay “on trend” with. Thus, the “convenience” market has progressed to provide healthier foods with the ease that the current consumer demands. Pre-cut vegetables and fruits can be purchased from supermarkets; groceries easily appear on your doorstep through home delivery. Additionally, other food and beverage packaging innovations extend the life of natural food and make these items more accessible. Think shelf-stable cartons and pouches of juices, soups, and nut milks. All of these products make it easy to consume things which are good for us in the midst of our busy lifestyles.
The problem with these convenient healthy meals that no one talks about is the fact that many of the materials that make these designs work are not recyclable! Aseptic cartons and pouches (i.e. the resealable, stand-up ones that house nuts, protein powders and sugar) are largely not recyclable because they are made of different combos of plastic, foil, and/or paper. The thin, multi-layer materials of snack bags and energy bar wrappers, the add-ons that give these items high function (i.e., spouts, caps, zippers, etc.) are difficult to capture by recycling depositories.
Do not let this discourage your New Years resolutions! You can offset the waste created by health and wellness products that do not yet fit into the current recycling system by choosing brands committed to taking responsibility for their packaging. For example, Hello Fresh uses compostable packaging in their grocery delivery service, and Lite N Easy lets you give back the delivery boxes for reusing!
Another simple way is to pack your lunch in containers, wash them and reuse yourself! Of course, the cleanest way to really “eat clean” is to buy only what you need and strive to buy direct from local sources. This can mean a trip to your local farmers market or fresh grocer. This cuts down on packaging waste, impacts from transportation, and over consumption at the supermarket.
Remember: What’s good for the body isn’t always good for the planet, but what’s good for the planet is almost always good for the body.
Keep an eye out for sustainable brands, and take a moment to slow down and exercise mindfulness; the key ingredient of making good decisions for your health and the environment.