Honestly speaking, the eco-friendly movement seemed overwhelming at first. I had no idea how to do my part, and felt as if I wouldn't be able to make an impact. However, I started to do small steps that gave me hope of making a greater impact. We should all develop this optimistic outlook. My goal is that you adopt easy, time-friendly habits that will better the environment! 

1. Reuse, Reuse, Reuse!

This is absolutely the easiest step you can take to becoming more eco-friendly. My first suggestion for reusing is to bring your own bags to the grocery story. Most grocery stores sell them for under $1! I usually keep mine in my car so I never had the “Oops, I forgot them!” excuse. Secondly, reuse containers when storing or transporting food. Invest in containers that will last you a while, preferably glass.

2. Composting Vegetables

Ok, this might seem like a weird concept, but if you cook a couple times a week, hear me out. When you peel an onion or chop vegetables, you are most likely throwing away the scraps that you don’t prefer to eat. Instead of throwing those away, store them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. Once it is filled, throw it in a pot and cover with water. You can add in herbs or chicken and cook it down until you have broth. I promise it is way tastier than store bought vegetable broth and it illustrates the “no waste” concept.

3. Trash Can vs. Recycling Can

This tip might seem obvious, but this concept can slip our minds. Statistically around 50% of trash is recyclable, but only 34% actually gets recycled. My roommates and I purchased another trash can for our kitchen to use for recycling, using the old one for the trash. When we would take the trash out, it made it easy for us to designate our trash in the appropriate bins. You could take it as far as only putting certain color trash bags in each can.

4. Grow Your Own Herbs!

Growing herbs is by far my favorite tip. I currently only have mint growing at my apartment, but I plan to add additions of basil, cilantro, and parsley! Herbs are such a simple and fresh way to add flavor and diversity to dishes. Even if you are unfamiliar with cooking with herbs, there are a million recipes to start experimenting. You could take this one step further and grow your own vegetables. I actually took the Vegetable Gardening class here at UF and grew my own peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes! Get out of your comfort zone and put that green thumb to use.

5. Invest In A Brita Filter

Stop investing in plastic water bottles and start investing in a Brita Filter. You can either get the pitcher or the sink attachment that actually filters the water as it come out of the faucet. Last year, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38. Can you believe that?! Make the switch. 

Eco-Friendly Final Thoughts

Everyone has the ability to make a difference in this world. As a foodie, its easiest to start these changes in the kitchen. My hope is that you discover it inside yourself to give back to this Earth that has given us so much.