Did you know that Singapore's progress in combating CO2 emissions is one of the worst-performing among more developed nations?
According to the National Environmental Agency's latest figures, Singapore generated a staggering 817,000 tonnes of food waste in 2021 alone, representing a whopping 23% increase from 2020!
As home chefs, we hold the power to make a positive impact on the environment, one meal at a time. It all starts with incorporating sustainability into our daily cooking and baking activities.
The kitchen is a hotbed of waste: from food packaging to plastic bags and those pesky kitchen scraps. However, when we thoughtfully utilise our ingredients, we're not only reducing food waste but also saving precious resources like labour, water, energy, and land that went into their production.
By embracing sustainable practices, we unlock a treasure trove of benefits for ourselves too!
Imagine healthier meals that reduce plastic toxicity and embrace more plant-based goodness. Picture this: the joy of enjoying more home-cooked meals and bidding farewell to excessively packaged containers and plastic bags, saving both money and the planet.
Let’s not overlook the incredible boost it gives to our well-being – living mindfully, purposefully selecting our choices, and experiencing the fulfilment of making a difference for Mother Earth.
Now, you might be wondering, "A zero-waste lifestyle sounds fantastic, but how do I begin?" While embracing a zero-waste lifestyle can feel overwhelming initially, remember that progress is made through small, meaningful steps.
That's why we've got three simple tips to kickstart your sustainable journey.
Tip 1: Have “clear-the-fridge” meal days to minimise food waste
If you've ever forgotten half of a cabbage, some lingering coconut milk, a handful of mushrooms, or a few lonely slices of ham in your fridge after a weekend cooking extravaganza, you are not alone. These neglected ingredients often end up in the bin, rotten and wasted.
Here’s a solution that will save you money and reduce food waste: schedule a "clear-the-fridge" day!
Instead of planning new dishes that require additional grocery shopping and more ingredients, unleash your inner freestyle chef and whip up meals using the left-over ingredients already hiding in your fridge and kitchen pantry.
It's a win-win situation for both your wallet and the planet! To make the most of your leftover ingredients and family meal remnants, mark a day in your week as your designated "clear-the-fridge" day. It's the perfect opportunity to showcase your culinary prowess by transforming odds and ends into delectable creations. Get ready to let your creativity run wild in the kitchen!
Embracing freestyle cooking not only helps reduce your ecological footprint but also turns you into a more adventurous and inventive home cook. If you're new to cooking without strict recipes, consider levelling up your skills with our culinary courses. From tantalising Japanese cuisine to vibrant Thai, Vietnamese, Peranakan, and even Singapore Heritage Foods, we've got you covered.
Embark on a flavour-filled journey that celebrates resourcefulness, minimises waste, and unlocks your inner chef-extraordinaire.
Tip 2: How to buy ingredients for a zero-waste kitchen
Creating an eco-friendly kitchen doesn't have to drain your wallet. You don't need every item in your pantry to bear labels like "sustainable farming," "fair-trade," or "eco-friendly."
Instead, focus on stocking up on versatile ingredients that can be incorporated into various recipes or used as substitutes. By doing so, you'll reduce the chances of tossing them out when they expire or go bad.
Think about fresh foods and dry staples that can work wonders in your kitchen. Picture vibrant vegetables, succulent fruits, fragrant herbs, nutritious nuts and seeds, hearty grains, rice, pasta, aromatic spices, and essential baking supplies like flour, sugar, and butter.
These kitchen stables will become your go-to ingredients, allowing you to quickly whip up culinary marvels.
Lucky for us, Singapore is blooming with sustainable grocery stores, making it easier than ever to stock up on kitchen essentials while staying eco-friendly. One popular option is Unpackt, a fantastic social enterprise offering package-free bulk food, fresh produce, and everyday necessities.
Their comprehensive range of products ensures you'll find everything you need. Keep an eye on their social media pages as they often announce incredible discounts on imperfect but high-quality fresh produce, such as luscious Australian avocados or vibrant purple cauliflower.
Another eco-conscious grocer to check out is Scoop Wholefood. They take the concept of sustainability to heart by stocking unpackaged kitchen staples and charging products by weight. This approach allows you to purchase only what you'll consume, significantly reducing wastage.
Revolutionise your kitchen by making intentional ingredient choices and exploring these sustainable grocery options.
Tip 3: Practice “energy-efficient” cooking at home
Ever wondered how much energy is silently being consumed during your culinary escapades?
From creating mouthwatering meals to delightful baked goods, cooking and baking can be surprisingly energy-intensive, particularly in a modern kitchen equipped with cutting-edge appliances like microwaves, ovens, air fryers, toasters, and slow cookers.
By unlocking the energy-saving potential of your kitchen, you not only become an eco-champion, actively contributing to the preservation of our planet, but you also enjoy the incredible rewards of slashing your electricity bills and accelerating your cooking times.
Put a Lid on It: When boiling soup or simmering a savoury stew, don't forget to cover the pot with a lid. By trapping the heat, you'll speed up the cooking process and minimise energy waste. Plus, you'll retain more flavours and nutrients in your dishes!
Maximize Oven Efficiency: Make the most of your oven's energy by filling it up with multiple dishes whenever possible. For instance, consider baking garlic bread alongside a mouthwatering macaroni and cheese casserole. By coordinating your baking times, you'll save energy and have a scrumptious feast ready in no time.
Chop for Efficiency: When preparing ingredients, chop them into smaller, uniform pieces. This simple technique allows for faster cooking times, whether you're dealing with potatoes, carrots, or broccoli. By reducing the size of your ingredients, you'll save both energy and precious minutes in the kitchen.
Adopting sustainable practices in our kitchen allows us to protect the environment, save money, and enhance our cooking skills.
Our actions can inspire others, contributing to a more sustainable future in Singapore. Let's cook with purpose, making every meal a celebration of taste and environmental consciousness.