Simple Steps for Your Family to Live More Sustainably
For years I’ve been implementing sustainable practices in my home, such as increasing my recycling efforts and reducing food waste, but I needed some help to step it up.
Simplicity is key in my household. My family is “all in” for sustainable living as long as it requires minimal effort. Sound familiar? So I did a little research and narrowed it down to some simple steps for household sustainability. For inspiration I turned to the Dairy community and discovered a handful of steps that are being implemented based on the 2015 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals1, 2, which include the “5 P’s”:
- People—Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt help nourish people, providing several nutrients like protein, calcium and vitamin D, to name a few.
- Planet—Today, each gallon of milk produced requires 90 percent less land and 65 percent less water, with a 63 percent smaller carbon footprint than it did almost 70 years ago3.
- Prosperity—Up to 1 billion people globally have livelihoods connected to dairy, including 37 million women-led farms1.
- Partnerships—At the heart of the dairy community is collaboration with social, economic and environmental experts and organizations.
- Peace—Food security and sustainable food systems are a critical part of a peaceful society. Dairy is valuable for its nutrient contributions as well as employment opportunities for people and communities around the world.
Sustainable tips for dairy at home
- Use it, don’t lose it! Got a little too much milk on hand?
- Add it to soups for a creamier texture.
- Make dairy desserts such as instant vanilla pudding topped with granola and sliced bananas.
- Overnight oats and traditional cooked oatmeal are much more delicious when prepared with milk, and packed with more protein, vitamin D and calcium, than when prepared with water or alternatives.
- Chill out with a Toasted Marshmallow Shake or super-simple to make Creamy Mixed Berry Popsicles.
- Put it on Ice: Freeze dairy that is nearing expiration date4.
- Milk: Put milk in smaller containers (think quart size or smaller) leaving a bit of room for expansion (about 1” from top), and place in freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator, shake well (to mix solids and water which may have separated) and enjoy soon after thawing.
- Milk Cubes: Ok, I like REALLY cold milk, so I freeze milk in ice cube trays to make milk cubes for beverages or to add to recipes (cover milk cube trays with plastic wrap before freezing).
- Cheese: Shredded cheese can be frozen and allowed to thaw 24-48 hours in the refrigerator before using. Aged cheeses (like some hard cheddars) may become a bit crumbly after freezing but are suitable as a recipe ingredient.
- Butter: Place butter in its original wrapping (or wrap in plastic wrap) into a freezer quality zipper-lock bag. Be sure to mark the bag with the date frozen. Unsalted butter will keep about 5 months in the freezer, salted butter will keep about 9 months frozen.
- To transform the world—benefitting all people and the planet we live on—the United Nations launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. https://dairygood.org/content/2018/how-dairy-drives-the-sustainable-development-goals
- Dairy as a Driver of the Sustainable Development Goals. https://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/content/2018/dairy-as-a-driver-of-the-sustainable-development-goals
- Dairy and Sustainability: 6 Things that May Surprise You. https://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/search-results?q=Dairy%20and%20Sustainability%3A%206%20things
- “How To” Tips for Freezing Milk, Cheese and Butter adapted from http://www.dairygood.org/