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From the Woodbridge Sustainability Committee – Being Green in the Time of Covid 19.

This is a crazy time.  We are all concerned with our health, our families, and our jobs.  Many of us are trying to work on new schedules at home in less than ideal conditions.  One thing has not changed.  We are still consuming and producing waste.  Fortunately, the Woodbridge Transfer and Recycling Station is operating.  It is still environmentally beneficial to save resources and recycle.  Furthermore, our trash-to-energy facilities will be overwhelmed if we do not recycle.  As we blossom into Spring, enjoy the ride to the Woodbridge Trash and Recycling Station and give a socially distanced wave and thank you to the folks running it.

You are probably cooking more these days, so this is a good time to discuss food and how to safely get the most out of it.  Below are two links regarding food shopping and virus transmission.  There does not appear to be high risk of virus transition through food.  Luckily, Covid-19 is not heat stable so you should feel safe eating cooked food.  After putting your groceries away, toss your reusable bags in the laundry and wash your hands with soap and disinfect your counters.  Both links have suggestions for dealing with produce and packaged food.  PSA Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic on YouTube: https://youtu.be/sjDuwc9KBps and “Who Knew Shopping Could Be So Stressful” from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/well/eat/coronavirus-shopping-food-groceries-infection.html?searchResultPosition=1.

You can minimize your risk of infection by shopping less frequently and with curbside pick-up and delivery services.  To get the most out of your purchase, plan menus and make a realistic shopping list.  Eat the most perishable items first.  You can extend the life and value of your produce several ways.  Steamed, sautéed or roasted produce and meats can be thrown into salads, pastas, omelets, fried rice, or soups later in the week.  Also, eat parts you might have been throwing away.  For example, rather than chopping off the bottom inches or more of asparagus, peel the bottom couple of inches of asparagus and just trim the ends.  Kale and chard stalks are tender when thinly sliced and cooked.  Peeling is not always necessary.  You should not eat green potato skins or the growing eyes, but all other potato skins are edible and nutritious.  Consider tossing peels with olive oil and salt and roast them for a savory snack.  Vegetable scraps like clean carrot peels and ends, onions and garlic skins, discarded celery bits, and parsley stems can be collected, frozen, and later used to make stock for soups.  Omnivores can add bones.  Your stock will be better than anything bought in a box, jar, or can.

Remaining produce scraps can be composted.  It’s easy.  Either construct your own or buy a composter.  By adding fruit and vegetable scraps to your compost bin in combination with dry leaves, you create nutrient rich compost for your garden beds, return nutrients to the soil, and reduce the weight of garbage we all pay to haul to trash-to-energy facilities.  In addition, by reducing the amount of wet material, the trash-to-energy facilities run more efficiently.  Purchased bins usually come with clear and helpful tips and instructions.  Here are more helpful links:  https://stopfoodwaste.ie/resources/composting/the-basics from Ireland’s EPA and https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/compost/compost_pdf/HomeCompostBrochurepdf.pdf?la=en from the Connecticut DEEP.

There is another destination for some food scraps for those who like to experiment, garden, need a distraction, or perhaps want a kid friendly project.  “How to Grow Everything” from Buzzfeed Nifty viewable on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jze8utzpLhg.

Stay well.

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