If you're doing more cooking at home these days, you're saving the environment and a little money all at the same time. By hitting the drive-through less often, you're reducing the amount of packaging material you contribute to landfills, as well as the energy necessary to produce, contain and transport all that paper, plastic, polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) and cardboard. That's a step in the right direction. This Earth Day, take it a step further by preparing a meal composed exclusively of locally produced products. Start by shopping at your farmers market for vegetables, eggs, cheese, milk and meat, and opt for items that are organically grown.
If you can't find local food sources, buy foods made with minimal processing. Instead of buying fried chicken, buy a whole fryer. Then cut it up and cook it yourself. You'll receive a triple reward: You'll be taking control of the ingredients you serve your family, reducing your carbon footprint, and saving money into the bargain.
Even better, lose the chicken in favor of a meatless meal on Earth Day. It takes more resources to raise poultry, pork and beef than it does to grow grains and vegetables, so make a wholesome vegetarian meal for a change. As a point of reference, if you became a vegetarian, you would reduce your carbon footprint by more than a ton. Sure, you may not want to go that far -- yet -- but starting a meatless Monday tradition at your house is a healthy, as well as an environmentally responsible, choice. Just think about it.