Abby K. Cannon is an attorney and dietitian who lives a very low waste lifestyle. She shares her philosophies on nutrition and sustainability on her Instagram account @abbysfoodcourt and her website abbysfoodcourt.com. Because a diet that’s best for our health is also the one that’s best for the planet, Abby hopes to inspire people to make small changes in their lives that help them achieve optimal health and protect the environment.
Say hello to Abby on Instagram @abbysfoodcourt or on her website abbysfoodcourt.com !
Explain what you mean by “Low Waste Lifestyle”
In the past few years, I have reduced the waste that I produce dramatically and I feel comfortable stating that I live a low waste lifestyle. To me, this lifestyle involves always assessing where my waste comes from and figuring out how to reduce it or eliminate it completely. My every day habits reflect this commitment and I have virtually eliminated the need for single use packaging. I consume consciously and carefully and I vote with my dollar. I also realize that the least wasteful (in terms of packaging) is not necessarily the most sustainable or ecofriendly. This is what I mean by low waste lifestyle.
I have virtually eliminated the need for single use packaging
What does a day in your life look like ?
Here are my top low waste habits! These have truly become habits, as I do not even think about them anymore.
- I start my day with at home workouts (I love Kait Hurley’s online workouts)
- After my workout, I eat breakfast at home, and pack my bag with my lunch and dinner for the day
- On weekends, I meal prep and portion out my meals in jars from Ancolie (the best café in New York) so I can quickly grab them in the morning.
- I then pour my coffee into my Keep Cup with homemade coconut milk creamer to enjoy on the train. I almost always have a Keep Cup with me – I never buy coffee/tea in a disposable cup.
- My bamboo silverware is always with me and I use it to eat my lunch, dinner, and snacks.
- To stay hydrated, I fill up my Klean Kanteen water bottle with water about 4 times a day to avoid plastic cups or water bottles.
I never buy coffee/tea in a disposable cup
These habits lead me to produce very little waste in my everyday life. (I showcase my low waste habits on my Instagram account @abbysfoodcourt!)
What happens to our trash once it leaves our home?
Unfortunately, our trash is not handled responsibly. The average American produces 7 pounds of waste each day and it costs billions of dollars to handle all this trash. New York City’s sanitation budget is $1.7 billion per year and the city spends approximately $300 million a year transporting the trash out of state to landfills. The trash in landfills negatively affects our environment, leaches toxic chemicals into our air and soil, and wastes resources. Buried organic materials decompose and release methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change.
The average American produces 7 pounds of waste each day
Landfills also require…land! Securing that land costs species their habitats and leads to loss of wildlife.
Additionally, not all the trash makes it to the landfills. The trash that falls out of trash cans and garbage trucks litters our streets, pollutes our water, and harms marine life.
To me, the biggest problem with our current sanitation habits and system is that we are completely unaware about what happens to our trash- it is truly out of sight, out of mind.
The first step to living more sustainably is learning about our sanitation system and how harmful our everyday choices are to the environment.
What are 5 easy steps to start lowering the amount of waste we produce?
Before I give you my top tips, I want to emphasize that the first step to reducing waste is assessing the waste that YOU produce every single day. What are you throwing away frequently? By figuring out where your waste comes from, you can start to identify appropriate alternatives that fit YOUR life.
My top swaps are:
- bamboo cutlery
- reusable water bottles
- glass/stainless steel containers
- tea towels
- tote bags
These items replace their plastic/non-reusable counterparts!
What are your favorite low waste products?
- To Go Ware Bamboo Silverware
- Ambatalia Bento Bags
- Klean Kanteen Water Bottle
- Ancolie Glass Jar
- Kakaw Designs Tea Towel
- Keep Cup
- Tote Bags (any and all!)
What are some good resources if someone wants to learn more about lowering waste?
The book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson is a must read. Bea is a pioneer in the zero waste movement and her book has all the tips and tricks to reduce waste!
What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
An unusual habit that I have developed in efforts to save water is jumping into the shower before the water is warm. It is quite uncomfortable, but it helps me save water (and helps me wake up in the morning)!
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say & why?
“We are borrowing this earth from our children.” This quote summarizes why it is that I am so passionate about the environment.
We are borrowing this earth from our children
What are 1-3 books that have greatly influenced your life?
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. As I mentioned above, Johnson is a pioneer in the zero waste movement and her book is a comprehensive resource for all things zero waste.
The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People by Dan Buettner is one of my favorite books on nutrition. Buettner researched the Blue Zones (the pockets in the world where people live the longest and have the lowest rates of chronic diseases) and he brings the principles of these cultures to life. He provides practical guidance as to how we can bring these principles to life in our own lives. The diet that is best for our health is also the best for the planet.
Say hello to Abby on Instagram @abbysfoodcourt or on her website abbysfoodcourt.com !0