Laura, the anti-food waste warrior.
When did you begin shopping this way and living this kind of lifestyle and what inspired you to start documenting it online?
I’ve shopped/eaten in this way for around 7 years after I first saw my work friend Andy bringing yellow sticker food in for his lunch - he explained that supermarkets reduce the price of food on its ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ date rather than wasting it. I started my Instagram account over 18 months ago after another friend suggested it saying that I’d inspired her to get creative and use the food she already had rather than relying on ready meals. I’ve been blogging about eating well for less for around a year now.
Tell us more about your daily activities and habits and how they contribute to a more sustainable world.
I just have little habits that I can incorporate easily into my routine i.e. recycling, carrying a water bottle, keep cup, tea bags, using a food waste bin. Picking up litter here and there. I take packed lunches to work. Carry a cloth bag for shopping. Use a menstrual cup which I bought yellow sticker.
I’m gifted with food from a friend's allotment.
I use food sharing app Olio. I share free food with friends, family, colleagues, those in need such as street homeless, food banks. I occasionally use food waste apps Karma and Too Good to Go where you can buy discounted, surplus meals from eateries before they are wasted. I’ve been making efforts to buy fewer new clothes; attending clothes swap events, seconds from work friends, charity shops.
Reusing glass jars for food storage.
Buying skin care from companies like Heavenly Organics which is vegan, cruelty free and containers are recyclable.
I also follow a plant based diet which I consider to have environmental benefits and be more sustainable.
We thought your work with The Felix Project was so inspiring. Tell us more about how you were involved with that, and have you done any other similar projects or charity work?
I’d been volunteering with Contact the Elderly, a charity which brings the elderly, and often isolated, together through organised tea parties. I wanted to sign up to a food waste charity where I could cook and improve my culinary skills as well as help others. I heard about The Felix Project on a couple of separate occasions. Initially I wasn’t interested as volunteers help to distribute food to homeless shelters and I wanted to cook, but after coming across them for a second time I thought why not try it. I’ve now been volunteering for them for around 18 months as a driver, co driver, attending events and am currently fundraising for them to run The Big Half (half marathon) in March.
You’re already so dedicated to living sustainably, but is there anything you think you could improve on? Do you have any goals around sustainability for 2019?
I want to learn more about single-use plastic, micro plastics and think about where I purchase make-up etc.
I’d like to use my car less and walk more.
I run along a canal and keep thinking to do a rubbish clean.
I’d like to do a no food spend challenge for perhaps a week or two and document what challenges and benefits I experience.
Can you suggest some easy tips or little steps for people who want to start living a greener lifestyle this year?
When it comes to cooking, try to use what you have! Shop from your cupboards, make leftovers your lunch, freeze more foods, become creative with what you have, experiment with recipes. If you’ve got an ingredient you don’t know how to use, just google it!
This also applies to non food items; why buy Tupperware if you have plastic take-away containers that could be reused? Jars are great for overnight oats, salads, smoothies, cocktails, pickles, sauces etc.
Get social; Facebook groups, Instagram accounts of those with similar interests or you find inspiring. Organise dinners in with friends, picnics, clothes swaps etc. Make it fun!
Challenge some of your beliefs. There is a difference between ‘display until’, ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. Often you can go merely by the look and smell of something. Food is not going to suddenly go off when the clock strikes midnight. I’ve had my fair share of pumpkins from Andy’s allotment but never turned into one!
If you don’t want to take home leftovers in a restaurant could you box it up and offer it to a homeless person.
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