A blog by Pricewise

An environmentally conscious look at vegetables

This article is written by Pricewise.

Living environmentally consciously seems like an alternative thing that became fashionable overnight. However, it is becoming more and more clear that this kind of consciousness is key in keeping our planet Earth liveable. That’s why it is a responsibility for both consumers and producers to rethink the way we deal with food and food production. Can vegetables be grown while keeping the environment in mind? Do we really need to have them wrapped in plastic? Could the consumer pay less attention to aesthetically pleasing food and more to its nutritional value?

More finely tuned fertilising
Farming could be more sustainable and environmentally conscious. Fertilising with artificial fertilisers containing nitrogen or phosphorus takes a huge amount of fossil fuel to produce. These fertilisers can contaminate both the soil and surface waters. A solution could be to deliver fertilisers to crops in a way more suited to the precise needs of the crops themselves. You can simply give the crops exactly what they need when they need it. This is actually a real, practical possibility for many specialty crops. The fertilisers can be delivered through drips or sprinklers and the amount can be controlled by the grower.

No more plastic wrapping
Vegetable can be packaged in several ways. Plastic is the least environmentally conscious way to do that. In supermarkets you will often find cucumbers with plastic around them and cucumbers that are not wrapped in anything at all. If the latter is an acceptable way to sell a cucumber, then why are the other ones wrapped in plastic? If you need to package vegetables or fruit, recycled cardboard is an excellent alternative. After the consumer has used it, it can be recycled again. If the consumer provides proper waste separation. If not, there is the consolation that at least it is biologically degradable.

Accepting strange shapes
In nature vegetables can come in ‘weird’ shapes. Cucumbers and zucchinis can be straight or they can be bent. If you chop them up while cooking, any notion of shape disappears. Nevertheless, oddly shaped fruit and vegetables are often just thrown away because they are deemed to be unsellable. This notion is consumer driven: we, the buyers, have proven to ignore products that are aesthetically unpleasant. We could ask ourselves how important shape really is. If you want to cut big slices of zucchini, then a bent one is not as useful. But for most other purposes, it just does not really matter. So why throw them away? Give imperfect fruit and vegetables a chance.

Cook it the right way
It is also quite possible to be environmentally conscious when cooking your vegetables. For starters, not cooking with gas is already a step in the right direction. Instead, you could install a cooker that uses electricity. Like one for induction cooking. Then make sure you get electricity that has been produced through the use of sustainable methods (wind power, solar power, water power). No need to pay more than necessary. There are plenty of websites where you compare energy and find yourself the greenest and most affordable deal.

For more information:
Marinus Nutma
Tel: +31 (0) 88 6699000
Mobile: +31 (0) 6 30523133
Email: marinusnutma@pricewise.com

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