EPA promotes eco-friendly, nutritious dishes

The China Post news staff

While most people are enjoying the traditional big feasts for the Chinese New Year season, the Environment Protection Administration (EPA) offered various tips about holiday cuisine for better health, which at the same time better protects natural resources. The EPA suggested a whole series of steps from procurement of food materials to reducing leftovers to the minimum. Purchasing locally produced seasonal vegetables, fruits, and meat products is the first step to acquire fresh and quality materials while cutting down on carbon emissions to be generated by packaging, storage, and transport. Buying proper amounts to meet the needs and avoiding excessive purchases and long-term storage will also help save costs, prevent waste, and reduce carbon emissions. Overstocking can be a common problem for most families during the period that can affect the quality of foodstuffs and raise storage costs. Place greater emphasis on vegetables and fruits over meats when drawing up the shopping list, the EPA suggested. United Nations groups’ research show that 18 percent of greenhouse effects result from the production of agricultural and livestock products. But corn, vegetables and fruits create the least amounts of carbon dioxide. The high content of fiber is also better for the body system.

The EPA also pointed out that reusing water containers and boiling 1 liter water will only create 50 to 60 grams of CO2 compared with 183 grams of CO2 for 600 cc bottled water and 303-565 grams of CO2 for 600 cc of bottled tea drinks or other beverages like sarsaparillas. It also helps reduce CO2 emissions by paying attention to cutting methods for food. Employing cookware with higher conductivity for heat and covering pots or woks during boiling or cooking helps to save on electricity or gas bills and slashes carbon emissions.

For leftover food, consumers can cook them again by adding extra vegetables to provide additional nutrition, new flavors and to balance out the grease in certain dishes. For condiments, applying lower amounts of cooking oil, salt and sugar remains the principal rule of thumb.

Sticking to the disposal of kitchen waste by classifying the materials left for processing into useful products like livestock feed or fertilizer will contribute to environmental conservation and emissions reductions, according to the EPA. Experts at the EPA also reminded people of regularly stretching themselves and taking up outdoor activities after having large feasts and spending long hours on board games like mahjong or watching TV.