You’re bound to get a little peckish throughout the workday, but those trips to the vending machine for potato chips and candy harm more than just your summer diet. In the U.S., containers, and packaging made up more than 77 million tons of waste in 2015, amounting to nearly 30 percent of our overall waste stream. And food packaging makes up a huge part of that.
Shrink your contribution to the packaging waste problem by packing your own snacks in reusable containers for work or school. As an added bonus, DIY snacks are also more cost-effective and help you ditch the high-calorie vending machine grub in favor of energy-boosting bites that are both good and good for you. To get you started, Earth911 rounded up this 10 low-waste, skinny-waist snacks that are bound to keep you and your footprint light.
We encourage you to buy milk, dairy, and other ingredients from sustainable farms, which are far better for environment than industrial farm operations.
1. Granola Bars recipe via National Sunflower Association
What you’ll need:
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit — any combination of apricots, cherries, or other favorites
How to make it: View full instructions and tips at the National Sunflower Association
Cut back on waste: Individually-wrapped granola bars create loads of hard-to-recycle waste. Nix those food wrappers from your personal waste stream by making a large batch of bars and packing them in reusable containers for school, work, or outdoor excursions.
To reduce waste even further, head to the bulk foods section to stock up on ingredients like rolled oats, sunflower seeds, nuts, and dried fruits. And take a lesson from Béa Johnson, who helped her family go entirely zero-waste, by bringing your own bags, glass jars, or reusable containers to the bulk-food aisle to eliminate the need for plastic grocery bags.
2. Baked Parmesan Kale Chips recipe via Skinnytaste.com
What you’ll need:
1 bunch kale (12 ounces after removed from stems)
1 teaspoon olive oil
A sprinkle of sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Cut back on waste: Unlike bagged potato chips, homemade veggie chips are a virtually zero-waste snack. Bring your own reusable produce bag to the farmer’s market to keep those trash cans lighter.