What to Do with the Excess Grape Tomato From The Garden

what to do with the excess grape tomatos

It’s almost the end of a beautiful tomato season and every year we get more grape tomatoes than we can use, this year I came up with a quick and easy recipe to be able to use these delicious fruits well into the winter.

It’s a twist on the roasted tomato, since I didn’t have time to slow roast them, I sauteed them in a pan on high heat.

Ingredient:

  • Grape tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Clove of Garlic

Direction:

Simply sautee the grape or cherry tomatoes in a non-stick pan with a teaspoon of olive oil, just enough to get some of the tomato skins pop. Next transfer the tomatoes to a jar, add enough olive oil to cover the tomatoes, add salt and garlic and that’s it.

This is a great sauce to keep in the kitchen for quick and easy pasta and side dishes. Keep refrigerated hope you enjoy!

roasted tomato pasta

5 Easy Swaps For A Greener Kitchen

5 easy swaps for a greener kitchen

I’ve started my eco-friendly journey from my kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of every home and where most of our waste is created therefore the faster way to a low waste lifestyle starts from the kitchen. I’m the last person who does something hard to keep up with. My greener kitchen choices are things that I can swap easily, not time-consuming and can quickly become a habit.

I’m going to share my favourite and easiest swaps for a greener kitchen. With these quick and easy swaps, you will have a greener kitchen in no time.

1- Non-stick cookie sheet

This way, you won’t need to use any parchment paper – aluminum foil or too much oil for anything your bake, roast or broil. When choosing an oven-safe dish, try to pick one that has an oven-safe lid as well to reduce the use of aluminum foil.

2- Reusable rags or towels

It just makes sense to have washed ready to use rags or towels for little messes around the kitchen and house. Using a paper towel not only is creating a lot of waste, but it feels like you are cleaning the mess with a dollar bill and throwing it out, don’t you think so?

fresh-bag-gogobags-vancouver

3- Good quality food storage bags/containers

 

I use Fresh bags for storing vegetables in the fridge. Since I started using Fresh bags, I cut our food waste by 75%. Cooking is much easier when I have washed and cut vegetables ready to go in Fresh bags in the fridge.

I also use glass containers a lot. They help me avoid using plastic wraps to cover anything, and they go straight to the oven or toaster oven.

 

 

4- Natural cleaners

There are a ton of natural cleaners in the market. A lot of them available in a concentrated format where you can mix with water in your spray bottle. If you get the concentrated one, you will save on a lot of plastic bottle packaging as well. Another good option is the good old white vinegar and water. I add a few rinds of lemon or a few drops of lemon oil for a better smell.

loofah-greener-kitchen

5- Loofah sponges

Now using Loofah as a dish sponge was one of the easiest swaps I ever did. At first, I was skeptical and was not sure if it can clean my dishes well. But on the contrary, it did a great job and keeps doing that. The best part, after a few months of using the Loofah, when it breaks down and gets thin, you can put it in the compost and no waste!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are my 5 easy swaps for a greener kitchen that I turned into a happy habit. Share your easy swaps in the comments.

eco-friendly-living-gogobags-vancouver

5 Hygiene and Safety Tips on Cloth Face Mask – 2020 School Year

hygiene and safety tips to use cloth reusable masks

Schools are starting soon, and parents are concerned about the safety of their children. There are a lot of unknowns, and like everything else in 2020, we are all learning as we go on. Some of us are trusting the system and sending our kids to school, some with cloth face masks and some without. I know a lot of us are homeschooling our kids. Either way is right as long as it’s right for our family.

By now we have learned that we are not in control of many situations, we do know that the staff and secondary school students need to wear masks at least in the hallways and common areas so we can take control of that and learn how to keep our children safe by teaching them how to use their cloth face mask in a safe manner.

Here are 5 hygiene and safety tips for the cloth face mask:

 

Tip #1 – Good quality and fit

Make sure your mask is made of at least two layers of tightly-woven fabric and better still if it has a pocket for a removable filter. You should not be able to see the light through the mask… If you do, the mask is not that effective. Fit is another important factor, your mask should cover your nose and mouth comfortably so finding the right fit is tricky. One thing you can do is to measure your face or your child’s face ear to ear, going over the mouth and comparing the measurements to the measurements of the cloth face mask you are buying. With this method, you can at least know if the cloth face mask you are buying is too large or too small, but like any other clothing item, you won’t be sure until you try the mask.

Reusable fitted mask-purple-paisleys-teen

 

Check out our reusable mask

For teen and child masks.

Tip #2 – Everything needs a happy home especially cloth face masks cloth-face-mask-bag-vancouver

Dedicate a bag and a backpack pocket for the mask. Preferably an easily accessible pocket of the backpack. You want to encourage your child to use that pocket only for the mask bag. Avoid transferring whatever viruses or bacteria that could be on the mask to the rest of the backpack and its content, it is also important to carry the mask in a bag that can be washed easily. A cloth face mask after use is considered contaminated and needs to be stored so that it doesn’t transfer the virus particles or bacteria that could be sitting on the mask to its surroundings.

 Tip #3 – Handle mask with clean hands only

That’s it. We need to let our kids know that this year one of their main activities should be washing their hands. I would go as far as getting a small hand sanitizer for their backpack in the same pocket as the mask bag so that they can easily clean their hand before touching it, they need to put their masks on their face and remove them with clean hands. They also need to clean their hands after removing their masks and putting them back in the mask bag.

Tip #4 – Face side folds in

Make sure they know how to safely put their mask on and off, always by the ear loop elastic. Adjust the mask to fit perfectly and then avoid touching the mask or their face as much as possible. This applies especially if they are reusing it during the day. Another important thing to watch for is what side goes on the face and what side is facing out, this is easy for the fitted reusable masks with a pocket but tricky with the pleated mask as both sides look identical. It’s a good habit to fold the mask in a way to have the face side folding in so it’s not in contact with anything else.

Our kids most likely use the same mask several times during the day. It is very important that they put the same side on the face. We can provide several masks for single-use during their different breaks and lunch break but let’s be real they won’t use a different mask every time.

 

Tip #5 – Wash and rotate

As per Health Canada, reusable cloth face masks should be washed after each use. It makes sense. Our kids may need to reuse their mask several times during the school day but it needs to be washed as soon as they get home, this is why it is important to wash the masks together with the carrier bag. We need to treat the cloth face mask as if it carries the CoronaVirus, if it did it would transfer the virus particles to the carrier bag too.

As mentioned by experts washing the masks in hot water and soap at least for 20 seconds should be enough to clean them. Laundering them in the washing machine and drying in the dryer is advised. If you hang dry the mask make sure to iron it afterwards to make sure all the virus and bacteria are killed. Remember that the masks are sitting on the mouth and they absorb all the bacteria in the mouth too so if they’re not washed those bacteria can grow in the mask and can cause other problems.

Some suggest disinfecting masks with bleach but experts say that is not necessary as long as we use soap, using bleach can cause other allergic problems for children. We do suggest having three masks and a mask bag per student for a school year to be able to wash and reuse properly. Most likely you will have to replace the masks as the elastic can wear off after a while but our mask bags will last you for many years.

 

At the end of the day, we all need to use our common sense. Reusable cloth face masks are quickly becoming part of our daily lives and we need to do our best to keep them both handy and clean to use and then safely clean and store them for the next use.

eco-friendly-living-gogobags-vancouver

Eco-Parenting – Raising Earth Friendly Kids

Eco-Parenting - Raising Earth Friendly Kids

Parenting is challenging on its own. Now eco-parenting is even more challenging. I found it more overwhelming to raise my children to be waste-free and eco-friendly, but the idea of raising them to be more Earth Friendly was doable.

The best kind of parenting is to model and be an example for your child. That is true in any subject. You want them to do something and follow you; you don’t tell them to do it. You model the practice, and they will follow even when you are not around to see.

This is true, especially in our subtle ways of doing things. Kids will pick up on the way we shop, where we shop. How do we treat the things we don’t want anymore and how we manage food in the kitchen.

Everything we do and the way we do them become the culture of our family, and our children knowing or unknowing will take it with them to their future family. Now that I look back, the way I run my kitchen is the way I saw my mom running her kitchen. Yes, I have changed a few things here and there and made it my own, but the base, the juice of it came from her. She was and is the most Earth friendly person in my life. She never let any food or anything to go to waste in our household. I learned the reuse, repurpose, recycle, and giving back from her.

eco-parenting-earth-friendly-kids

Attributes to focus on in rasing earth-friendly kids

I believe every Earth friendly person has three attributes. They feel a sense of responsibility towards their surroundings, people, neighbourhood, etc. They value our resources and hard work that goes to make the life we live today. And they care for others around them and everything they own.

Here are three simple things you can do to build these attributes in your child.

Responsibility

Plant something and give them the responsibility to water and tend to it.

With this practice, they learn how responsibility and caring for something works. They also learn how earth and plants work and how we need to take care of our gardens and vegetation. These kids tend to be more nature lovers.

Value

Show them the value of the food we have. Yes, composting is better than throwing food in the garbage. But we can use up more of the food we quickly put in the compost.

I remember when I was a child, we would never throw out leftover dried bread, as simple as that. We didn’t have compost back then, but some vendors would come to our neighbourhood and would exchange the dried bread with salt. The dried bread would be turned into food for cattle.

The thing I learned from this and what my mom thought me was that a lot of people worked hard to grow the wheat and turn it into the bread that we eat, and just throwing it out would be disrespect to them and all their hard work. And now, I see the value and the simplicity of that simple act.

Caring

Caring and giving back to your community can be done in so many different ways. Helping kids pick groceries for the food bank is one way. My Earth friendly activity though, is teaching them to donate the clothes they grew out of.

I remember wearing hand me downs and knowing that I need to keep my clothes in good shape because one day, it was going to be passed down to my cousin to wear. This can be done in so many different ways.  We don’t have friends or cousins the same size or around the same age to do so now. But I thought my kids at a very young age that their close that doesn’t fit them anymore are perfect clothes for those who are younger than them. I got them involved in taking their unwanted items to the thrift store.

With this act, they learn to value their belonging and don’t throw them in the garbage when they don’t have use for them. That, if they don’t need or have use for it, someone else will. I know this works well because my children, who are teens now, don’t even think about throwing away any of their belongings. If something doesn’t fit, they automatically put it in a box to be given away. This is so grained in their mind that if by mistake I tell them to throw something out, they come back with:  ” WHY?? It just doesn’t fit me. Someone else can perfectly use this.”

By this activity, they learn both the value of their belongings and how we are a community and how we can care for each other.

 

So there you go, three simple things you can start doing today to raise and more earth friendly child. Being earth friendly doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to suffer through it, it can be done with simple steps and then build on that when you are ready.

 

eco-friendly living

My Secret To Easy Waste Free Picnics

waste free picnic

Maybe not this year, COVID kind of threw us off our routine and plans for this summer. But we are a road trip kind of family. Every summer we go camping at least twice or three times which includes a short road trip going and coming back plus a road trip to Okanagan. We have a system that works for us, even the kids, well more teens’ bickering is accepted and very well tolerated by all in our road trips.

This year however we are going on more picnics than road trips. More because it’s safer and we get to go home at the end of the day.

There a few things I do and have around to minimized our waste as much as possible. Although I have an eco-friendly and waste free related business and mindset my whole family don’t share all those values. I know they are aware of it and better than many but in general if it’s not easy it can be avoided. In general my success in waste free living is my preparedness.

My trick to have a waste free picnics and road trips is to go prepared and make it as easy as A B C for all the people involved to follow through and be waste free as best as they can. And I have to emphasize the “as best as we can” I never aim for perfection just our best effort towards a waste free road trop or picnic.

As much I like to be organized and know about our plans well in advance, picnics are one of those things that happens spontaneously in this house. Well, living in Vancouver you need to take advantage of a surprise sunny day and if a friend is going on a picnic you want to tag along too.

To be able to go on a picnic anytime and be waste free I have a few things prepared in advance, ready to go on a short notice.

Here is the list of things for waste free picnics

  1. Old mugs
  2. Old reusable water bottle and to-go mugs
  3. Old reusable utensils
  4. Reusable plates, I’m using the set we had when the kids were young (Not plastic but unbreakable)
  5. Set of wash towels
  6. Loose leave tea, instant coffee, hot chocolate powder in separate reusable containers
  7. A set of reusable tea bags
  8. A few reusable snack and sandwich bags
  9. A set of old salt and pepper shakers
  10. Old tea towels
  11. Brown paper bag (to store food waste to compost either at the site or bring home)

Using my kids’ old lunch bags I have stored the above list in collections.

Mugs, plates, towels, and utensils in one bag. All edible items plus the tea towel, tea bags and the brown paper bags goes in another lunch bags. I always have snack and sandwich bags handy, I will add those to one of the bags as we heading out.

When you have these items ready to go, you won’t scramble around and end up buying disposable plates and cups. This means that beforehand we made a conscious choice to reuse some of our old kitchen wears that we needed to replace. That includes different sizes of plates and bowls, cups and mugs, utensils, tea towels and wash towels. When it was time to replace any of those items I simply stored them in the old lunch bags that I needed to replace and started using those on our camping, and road trips and now on our picnics.

When I have taken care of the things that can easily be replaced by disposable kind, having a waste free picnic will be way easier. I just make sure I have a thermos of hot and cold water with me, that will help us avoid water bottles and to-go drinks.

Of course, we take homemade sandwiches in gogoBags sandwich bags and fruits and salads in reusable containers. For more waste free ideas check out Plasticfreejuly they have a ton of waste free tips.

 

 

5 Simple Ways To Preserve Summer Fruits From Going To Waste

We are one week into summer and it’s getting exciting. I love all seasons, I love walking in rain and snow in fall and winter and love the rebirth of nature in spring but summer is something else. It stands out for me, gives me more energy than any other season. Maybe it relates to my favourite childhood memory.

I remember picking fruits in my grandfather’s orchard in summers. It was exciting to go there play in the dirt, climb a fruit tree, sit up there and eat fruits right from the branch. I was free labour but I didn’t mind it I would pay myself with fresh pick fruit. I think I ate more than I put in my pail, but nobody cared.

It was fun to see all those fruits to be picked and boxed to send away. I was too young to know if my grandfather actually sold those fruits to stores or not. I do remember that sometimes there was just too much fruit so my mom would turn my grandparents garage into a market.  She would sell these luscious fresh fruits to the neighbours. It was fun to run around the neighbourhood nock the doors and inform the neighbours of the fruit sale.

Now we know where do I get my entrepreneurship gene 😉

Then it would come days of turning those fruits to something that we could use for the rest of the year. Nothing would go to waste, that’s the beauty of it. The fruits that were ripe and looking good would go to neighbours. The ones with a few dots or something would be turned into jams or canned. And those that were just too ripe or mushed would be turned into sauces or fruit leathers.

Now you can imagine how I look at fruits and vegetables in my household. Exactly like in my memory, nothing goes to waste.

Here are a few tips and ideas on what to do with different fruits when you have too many of them or they are going to go bad.

Fruit leathers

This is the perfect way of preserving fruits that carry a lot of water. Plum fruit leathers are my favourite, and something we made a lot when I was a kid. You can turn any kind of berries or fruits into fruit leather. They are a perfect healthy snack especially if you don’t add sugar to your puree.

 

Sauces

Making sauces is perfect for the end of summer extra tomatoes you pick from your garden. Or if you just have some tomatoes that are just too soft to add to any dish. I make small batches just to avoid the fruit to go bad and keep in jar in the fridge. When I have more sauce I add that to the jar too.  To make this last longer in the fridge I add a little bit more salt into my sauce. If I have too many small batches of sauce added in one jar, I cook the content of the jar once more so that all different batches cook together.

Canning or pickling

This goes for a lot of fruits and vegetables. Green peas, peaches, apples, cherry tomatoes. I do love canned cherry tomatoes, not sure if I’m doing it right or not but it works for me. Whatever leftover I have of cherry tomato that are going soft of me. I broil and then transfer them into a jar then I add salt garlic and olive oil. It’s a nice garnish to any pasta sauce.

Same with cucumbers I have a jar of saltwater and garlic and every time I have extra cucumber it goes in there.  Not gonna lie, I don’t even make the saltwater, I just keep the juice of the store-bought pickles for this purpose.

Jams

That is given, and one of the most used forms of preservation.  Berries, apples, peaches, grapes, even peppers can be turned into healthy homemade jams with little to no sugar added.

Frozen treat

The freezer is my friend in the kitchen. I do freeze everything that I can’t cook to something else or if I don’t have time to do that. Things that come to mind that I freeze are bananas, grapes, berries, peaches, watermelon and melon balls. The best way to freeze these is spread around on a parchment paper on a tray uncovered in the freezer for a few hours and then transfer to a container or a freezer bag. I do use a silicon freezer bag and sometimes Ziploc bag which I wash and reuse many many times.

 

There you have it. These are my ways to keep fruits from going to waste. Share with us your way.

Is Pandemic easier on Eco-friendly lifestyle?

pandemic easier on eco-friendly lifestyle

Earth day is upon us. I think this is the first time in many years that Earth is getting what it deserved. Kind of a break from us. Due to COVID 19, a lot of countries put a restriction on travel and advised people to stay home. That means less gas emission, which already proved to be helping the planet with self-healing. I know pandemic was easier on me with my eco-friendly lifestyle. The question is are we, in general, creating more garbage with all these online deliveries and packaged food that we would not buy otherwise.

Are we creating more waste than necessary?

Talk about all the disposables we use these days. Some waste is necessary. For example, the disposing of masks in hospitals is essential to keep healthcare workers safe, but do we need to do that at the household level? Wiping high traffic surfaces with alcohol wipe is necessary, but do we need to use them in our house? Can we replace that with a spray bottle of 1 part bleach and 9 part water and a towel? We do bring groceries home, and we need to disinfect everything. Do we need to use a wipe or can we spend a little more time and wash everything with good old soap and water? Let’s face it; we have the time.

I think now more than ever; we need to stick with reusables as much as we can. We are all sitting home doing our best to help flatten the curve. Let’s make sure we are not surging some other curve. Be more cautious about how we disinfect and try to use as much reusable as we can. Watch what we are doing in our household and how we can make the Earth a better place, even with a pandemic going on.

A few tweaks to reduce our waste during the pandemic:

  • Buy ingredients and make the meal yourself. Most meal helpers come with a lot of packaging. Making a meal from scratch keeps you busy longer and gives you more satisfaction anyways.
  • Shop online from package free stores. If you can, they deliver in reusable containers that you can either use at home or return and get your deposit back.
  • Use those plastic grocery bags as garbage bags, don’t just dispose of them. If you are worried that the bag might be contaminated, turn them inside out, or leave them in another bag for two weeks then use them.
  • If you can buy food in glass or aluminum jars, they get recycled better than plastic
  • Disinfect with either soap and water or spray of 1 part bleach and 9 part water dry off with a clean towel instead of using disposable alcohol wipes. Just make sure to wash and dry the towel well afterwards.

Is pandemic easier on an eco-friendly lifestyle?

In the light of pandemic and shortage of toilet paper, paper towels and diapers, I realized how lucky I am that I’m not worried about these items. It even didn’t enter my mind that these could be essential products.

Well, I don’t have a diaper-wearing child, but if I had because I would be using reusable diapers, the shortage would not affect me. Paper towels did not cross my mind at all. Last time we bought paper towels was a year or maybe two years ago. We use toilet paper, I have teenagers in the house, and I’m not going to traumatize them with alternative, as a kid, I lived with the alternative, and I didn’t like it. But we have an understanding in our house that we are not to waste material in our household, so we only use the minimum we need for anything.

My point is, the pandemic and all the things that come with it most likely are easier on the eco-friendly lifestyle. People who use reusable, make homemade meals, are cautious of what they use, and how much they use in their household. Now we just need to get everyone else to think that way too. Would you? Would you change your habits to make your life easier and help the planet at the same time?

Keep Fruits and Vegetables Fresher: How To Boost Your Immune System

Vegetables

Most of us understood that fruit and vegetables were important for our health. More specifically, fruit and vegetables helped to boost our immune system. However, did you ever wonder how these fruit and vegetables boost our immune system? Let us take a look at some common produce selections and their benefits.

 

Vegetables

Fruit And Vegetables Boost Immune System

According to SFGate, focusing on the different colours of the produce, they all have their own special benefits:

1. Orange and yellow: Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons have a high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is commonly used to help with colds and other illnesses. They contain many different bioflavonoids that help with inflammation too.
2. Reds: Cranberries, gojiberries and tomatoes fall into this colour group. Cranberries help with urinary tract infections. Goji berries help with the immune system by increasing immune cells called lymphocytes. Tomatoes contain lycopene that prevent immune cells from oxidative damage.
3. Blues: The anthocyanins in blueberries help to increase the amount of natural killer cells, which are a type of immune cells. Purple grapes are great to increase immune cells too.
4. Greens and Whites: Green vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and chlorophyll which help strengthen immune cells. White vegetables like garlic are know for being antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Storing Fruits And Vegetables

Since the lock down, it has been harder to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables. It is not wise to pick up too much at one time as fresh produce can rot easily. When you leave the produce inside plastic bags, the moisture inside tend to collect and rot the produce. You may then choose to just leave the produce in the produce drawer in your fridge. This method can help to prolong them a bit longer. Ultimately, you most likely will lose your fruit and vegetables to the compost bin. There must be a better way! This is why cotton reusable bags help to save you time and money. Even when I cut up bell peppers, the cotton bags can help to them fresher for more a week!

International Women’s Day Donation Rally

women’s

 

To commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day, the gogoBags crew organized a Donation Rally for the North Shore Women’s Centre. Hence, this visit helped us get to know more about this amazing women’s centre.

According to the North Shore Women’s Centre website, “it is in North Vancouver, BC. Also, the North Shore Women’s Centre is dedicated to improving the social, economic, legal and political status of women. Which, in turn, help to encourage and support self-empowerment by acting as a resource and a catalyst for change, from feminist perspectives.

Also, NSWC ‘aim to provide women with access to resources and assist them with life choices, actively address violence against women. Hence, this includes ‘at all levels of the community, challenge sexism and discrimination in the community, and work towards the elimination of the feminization of poverty.’ The centre welcomes women and gender diverse individuals, including those who identify as trans, Two-Spirit, and/or non-binary.”

How ‘gogoBags’ Help To Carry Women’s Weight

First, the head of the our crew, Anahita, brought along a wonderful collection of our snack bags, salad bags and reusable tea bags to the centre on March 5. Second, many of the women who came to the centre were constantly on the go. Therefore, this women’s centre would be able to fill these bags with the products to be given to these women in need:

Shampoo (medium sizes)
Hair Conditioner (medium sizes)
Body Wash
Toothbrushes
Reusable bags (like ours!)
Rice in 2lbs bags
Canned vegetables
Healthy snacks
Non-perishable food
Gift cards
Professional Services

This North Shore Women’s Centre helped many women through the following programs and services:

1. Drop-in Resource Centre (computer, library, job postings, counselling, emergency food supplies)
2. Single Mom’s Support Group (peer support, child care, caregiver respite)
Women’s
3. Basic Computer Training (That is to say that volunteers help teach basic computer courses like Excel, Powerpoint and social media, for instance.)
4. Family Law Clinic (To clarify, this service is for women with a personal income below $45000 after taxes.)
5. Girls Empowerment Summer Camp (Furthermore, the camp is free of charge and included meals and materials.)
6. Health & Wellness Programs​ (information, advice, treatments and classes; for instance, holistic health treatments)
7. Workshops (‘Women’s Health in Women’s Hands’ and ‘Women Connecting’ series, for instance)
As a result, as it happened, our visit to this amazing women’s centre, was an eye-opener! Therefore, women could do even more as group when we contribute to their donation lists.

 

Bags That Saved My Leafy Greens

Growing up in a household that loved eating leafy green vegetables, I observed they were left in the open for customers to pick what they wanted. Nowadays, plastic bags kept many of these leafy greens separated by bundles and prevented customers from picking freely. Sadly, these plastic bags also sped up the yellowing of the leafs. One way that my mother taught me to slow down this process, was to wrap paper towels around the vegetables. Afterwards, she would place them back into the plastic bag. I thought that was a bit of a waste, both the plastic bag and the paper towel.

Bags

As an adult and then a mother, myself, I really wanted to reduce the amount of plastics bags used for my lettuce and bok choy! The discovery of cotton GogoBags helped changed the way my family stored and ingested leafy greens. Imagine being able to enjoy fresh and crisp vegetables even on vacation!

Bags, Leafy Greens and Vacation

From experience, there were two main ways that the GogoBags helped:

1. On a trip: From going away on a vacation to going on a road trip to camping, I would pack the vegetables and leave them in the ice box. I would also bring empty ones, so that I could purchase fresh ones and leave them in the “salad” bags.
2. Away from home: My pet reptile required fresh leafy greens everyday. My friend was able to have access to fresh leafy greens to help feed my pet for over a week! These GogoBags were able to keep them fresher even after two weeks.

Finally, I would like to emphasize that despite the fact one had to spend some money to purchase these vegetable bags, they saved my money in the long run. Imagine being able to eat all of my vegetables instead of composting almost of it at the end.

Our World And Its Food Waste Situation

To begin, some very disturbing numbers appear as one looks at the amount of food wasted on our planet. Most people rarely think about how much food they throw out each day. According to the statistics of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, one-third of our food in the world is what we discard each year. This amounts to about 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost each year!

Some World Food Waste Number Statistics

1. $680 billion in industrialized countries (670 million tonnes)
2. $310 billion in developing countries (630 million tonnes)
3. Wealthy nations waste as much food as the amount of food that is produced in sub-Saharan Africa.
4. In Europe and North America, 95-115 kg of food is thrown away
5. In sub-Saharan Africa, south and southeast Asia throwsaway 6-11 kg (Isn’t this interesting….)

How Food Waste In Developing And Industrialized Countries Differ

Less waste

The differences between developing and industrialized countries becomes more evident when you compare them. Most importantly, most of the wasted food gets tossed at the retail level. Then, this happens again at later stages of food production.

Disappointingly, most of this food waste happens because of the lack of aesthetic appearance. Hence, if the food looks “ugly”, then it is discarded in the post-production part. If only, we, in the industrialized countries can embrace the natural aesthetics of our produce. This alone can help reduce the amount that we dispose of each day.

Furthermore, in developing countries, at the beginning stages of production is where most of the food Waste appears. Therefore, this can change with better funding to technology in harvesting and food storage. Imagine if the technology of industrialized countries helps to influence developing countries. Hence, we can reduce this part of waste.

Therefore, with better technology, our planet can achieve less pollution and less food waste. Hopefully, we can pass important information to future generations.

 

 

Avoiding Food Waste at Home

avoid food waste with these bags

 

 

Although we are not able to control the amount of food waste at the restaurants, we can at home. Reducing food waste is better for the environment and for our pockets too! As we see in the media, a lot of the food in the food supply is often discarded. Hence, we, as consumers, can try to reflect our concerns through our purchasing habits.

Reduce Food Waste At Home

According to Love Food Hate Waste, three simple steps can be take to reduce food waste.

1) Meal plan: Meal planning helps to calculate the exact amount of groceries that is needed to be bought. When you use recipes, you are able to calculate exactly how much you need.
2) Use it up: Try to use up every thing that you buy. It is wise to look through your fridge and cupboards regularly to look for close to “best before” dates. This can help eliminate the need to throw away food.
3) Keep it fresh: Discover new ways to keep your food fresher longer allows you to be able to use up more of the food.Using all natural and reusable equipment like mason jars or cloth bags can help save more food. Mason jars can be used to keep soups and food frozen too! Another tip, GogoBags Fresh bags are able to keep fresh fruits and vegetables fresher. There will be lesser amounts of rotten produce sitting in a corner of your fridge.

 

Finally, one last suggestion, when you go shopping for groceries, pay attention where the store managers reduced the prices of certain items as they are close to “best before” dates or are not “pretty” enough. Sometimes, I actually look for these discounted items. I constantly pick up these items and cook them up that night as a surprise!

 

 

Canada’s Approach to Food Waste

After doing some research, it is comforting to know that Canada actually has a plan to reduce food waste. Unfortunately, we often see a lot of good food go to waste because it’s “ugly” shape or simply discarded when they just pass their expired date!

Salad Keeper

Food Waste Reduction Ideas

Food Loss and Waste Strategy for Canada plans to cut food waste by half by 2030.

“The report recommendations, broadly supported by a diverse range of stakeholders, include:

1. Federal government support for a national food loss and waste reduction target of 50% by 2030
2. Introduction of approaches to “best before” date labelling
3. Improved inventory management at businesses and large institutions
4. Upgraded food service tracking and distribution
5. Removal of barriers to heighten recovery of leftover safe and nutritious food through gleaning and charitable networks
6. Elimination of financial, legal and policy obstacles surrounding food donations
7. Increased collaboration between government, businesses, retailers and community organizations”

Save Our Food

First, one of the easiest to observe is the switch over to more “best before” date labelling from the “expired” date labelling. Consumers are very sensitive to the word “expired”. This word leads them to believe that they can’t eat food product that reaches the “expired” date. Hence, it immediately turns into poison. The consumer thinks that they need to dispose of it into the nearest compost! However, ironically, the food is usually still edible!

Furthermore, constant and better inventory management at supermarkets and grocery stores can also helps to reduce food waste. By enabling the stores to find close to “best before” date products quicker, they can be dealt with sooner. Then, the business can make the decision to put the product on discount. Therefore, consumers can save some money and clear out the merchandise.

Most importantly, is to update the guidelines and reduce the many obstacles towards food donations to charitable organizations. This means more and more food can be donated to charities. So, people in need can benefit from this collaboration!

Plastic-Free Awareness For Our Family and Friends

When I first brought my own recycle bags to buy my groceries or go shopping, people thought that I was being very weird. I was trying to increase plastic-free awareness about reducing single use plastics. Why would I want to drag around these reusable bags when I could just pick up a bunch of free plastic ones at the store? What a hassle!!

To be honest, it was my father who inspired me to do just that. He was quite frugal himself and grew up in an era where everything was saved to be reused. (He used to reuse those plastic bottles until I told him to stop and to use a decent reusable bottle instead.) It was a bit embarrassing when I was much younger, as it seemed so unnecessary. However,as I grew older and learned more about the negative impact of single use plastics like those plastic bags and water bottles, I felt proud.

Awareness

Ways To Inspire Awareness

Just talking about reducing plastic usage to your friends and family might not be enough. We need to be more proactive and use our actions to inspire them.

1) Bring your reusable bags and grocery bags with you when you shop with them. Lend them one when you see that the store clerk offers them a plastic one.
2) When you go out for dinner or meet up with your buddies, take a reusable take out and coffee mug to bring leftovers in. Bring an extra one to share with your friends!
3) As a gift, think about all the different types of zero-waste bags and containers that you can give to them. Pay attention to their reactions when you share your reusable containers. Each person’s preference depends on their lifestyles.

Always remember that every single action taken towards being plastic-free is worth it!

How Mesh Produce Bags Helps Our Environment

The next time you visit your local supermarket, take a look at how many rolls of plastic film bags are placed around the fruits and vegetables. Each time a shopper decides to purchase some apples or oranges, they usually reach out and grab one of those plastic bags. After one use, these flimsy plastic bags are then thrown away. What a waste!! Storing your produce in these plastic bags also speeds up the rotting process…..Can you imagine all those pieces of plastics floating around in the ocean and looking like jellyfish? Poor sea creatures can mistake these pieces of plastics as their food source and suffocate. That is why mesh produce bags are so helpful to our environment.

There are many different types of bags in the market. I personally like ones that are very light and doesn’t have any extra parts that can get in the way. It’s also better if the mesh produce bags have a good stretch to it. You can use the mesh produce bags for other things if they are stretchy.

Different Ways To Use Mesh Produce Bags

1) Shopping for fruits and vegetables: You can transfer the produce into a salad bag when you get home, so that the fruits and vegetables can last even longer.
2) Use the mesh bags for delicates in the laundry wash: All those delicate pieces of clothing can be protected by using the same produce bags in the laundry wash.
3) Toy organizer and storage: By collecting those small pieces of building blocks in the mesh bags, the child can still see what is in the bag, instead of losing them in a gigantic toy box.
4) Travel bag: As you get up from the beach, you can throw your sandy clothing into the bag, so the sand can fall out.

How many ways could you use your mesh bags?