How to Stock an Eco-Friendly Pantry
During a pandemic like COVID-19, having a few extra food supplies in storage is good for your health and the health of the planet. A well-stocked pantry helps lessen the number of times you need to visit the grocery store and reduce the likelihood of food going bad before you get to it. Even better, a well-planned pantry means you can prioritize buying foods and beverages that come in recyclable packaging like shelf-stable cartons. By recycling your cartons, you can reduce your waste and even help prevent shortages of household essentials like paper towels and toilet paper.
That’s right, the paper fiber from recycled cartons can be used to make paper products that are in extremely high demand, like toilet paper, paper towels and tissues. Every carton you recycle helps supply manufacturers with the raw materials they need to keep producing these essential items and prevent shortages.
Here are four tips to keep in mind as you build up your eco-friendly pantry. Keep in mind different situations may call for a different approach so always use your own best judgment.
- Purchase items that come in recyclable packaging such as cartons. Then remember to recycle them once done so they don’t end up in a landfill.
- Purchase in bulk to reduce packaging, and when possible use reusable bulk bags for items like rice, pasta, beans, quinoa, oats, etc.
- Stay calm and keep your quantities within reason. Buying up everything you see in the store can be tempting, but hoarding food is unlikely to help you much, introduces excess stuff to store in your home, and can keep others from also getting the food they need.
- Stick to the essential foods your family will need for one-two weeks. Prioritize items you know your family regularly consumes over specialty items you rarely use. The Centers for Disease Control recommends having at least a three-day food supply on hand.
Foods and beverages that come in shelf-stable cartons are great for the pantry as they have a long shelf-life plus are light weight, compact and easy to store. Pantry essentials that come in shelf-stable cartons include:
- Soup: Good comfort food to pair with a sandwich or a salad. Pick a couple low-sodium options that will please everyone in the family.
- Broth and stock: Low in calories and a good source of protein, broth and stocks are great as the base of hearty soups and stews or cooked grains and rice.
- Milk (dairy and plant-based): Essential condiment for cereal, oatmeal and your morning coffee.
- Tomato sauce: Great base for sauces, soups and stews.
- Wine: A glass of wine can add depth to homemade sauces or help you decompress at the end of the day.
- Juice: A tasty lunch treat for the kids or to add to your favorite smoothies to get your daily fruit intake.
- Healthy beverages: Drinks like coconut or cactus water are high in electrolytes and help keep your hydration levels up.
- Cat and dog food: Keep your animals’ carbon footprint low too.
Check here for additional guidance on how to build a pantry that works for you and your family or here for more tips on how to commit to sustainability at home.
Show us what’s in your eco-pantry on Instagram or Facebook by using #RecycleYourCartons.