Everyday Enviro with Elise: Let's get cooking

Everyday Enviro with Elise: Let's get cooking

    By Elise Catterall  April 27th, 2023

    Meals cooked at home can not only be better for your waistline and wallet, but also benefit the planet.  


    Home cooking is well-established as being a key part of helping lower our carbon footprint as individuals. Not only does it help reduce reliance on packaged foods and the amount of takeaway packaging we send to landfill, it also allows us to choose ingredients, shop organically, seasonally, ethically and/or locally, and helps us limit the excess energy consumption that is often involved in ordering takeaway. 

    Home cooking helps significantly reduce food waste, which could be the biggest benefit of all. After all, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, food waste is responsible for approximately 3.3 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year, which from my calculations is equivalent to the emissions of about 1.5 billion cars. 

    Did you know taking cooking lessons can help lower food waste even more (depending on your existing skills)? Learning to manage portion sizes, as well as shop and store ingredients correctly, will go a long way to minimising the amount of food (whether its spoiled food or unused ingredients) that end up in the bin. Experts can help you learn to use ingredients (or parts of) in creative ways to save them from going bad and help you avoid buying more food unnecessarily. 

    Taking cooking lessons has benefits beyond simply teaching cooking skills. Lessons can inspire us to broaden our palette, which can help us move away from over relying on the handful of staple ingredients that dominate the food industry (refined grains, dairy, meat, palm oil, etc) and to discover new foods.  

    Lessons can help you successfully move towards a sustainable, plant-based diet (meat and dairy specifically accounts for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions), without solely relying on the many hyper-processed plant-based foods in the marketplace.  

    Home cooks are also better placed to teach or inspire those around us, hopefully creating a sustainable, environmentally friendly ripple effect. 

    Lastly, cooking lessons help you appreciate all the effort and resources that go into bringing ingredients into your kitchen. That kind of wider world view helps us to connect, cook and consume mindfully. 

    Thankfully there are heaps of options for cooking classes in most major cities, a simple internet search away. And what better place to learn zero-waste cooking skills than through OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. OzHarvest run cooking classes for small to large groups, teaching basic skills and the ins and outs of root to tip cooking, perfect for sustainable cooking and living.  

    So put on your apron and let’s do some good for the planet. 

    Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


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    Elise Catterall

    Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.

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