What Is An Upcycled Lifestyle?

by Ani Mueller, RDN, LD

Last Updated: March 1, 2021

As the concept of sustainability grows in popularity, individuals are looking for more ways to do their part to protect the health of the planet for future generations. Recycling has long been accepted as a personal responsibility, with many households dutifully rinsing cans and breaking down cereal boxes to be carted off to recycling plants. Upcycling is another growing concept in the sustainability world, which means to recycle something that results in an end-product of even higher value than the original item being recycled. Upcycling is growing in the fashion world, on both corporate and personal levels. Companies are looking for ways to recycle fabrics and DIY tutorials abound for upcycling just about any garment one can think of.

Just like in fashion, sustainability has grown ever important in the food and nutrition world, with specific focus on sustainable farming, agriculture and reducing food waste. Kroger has made it its mission to reduce food waste in its stores and communities with the Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative. The plan is to end hunger in our communities and eliminate waste in the company by 2025, including establishing an innovation fund, giving three billion meals by 2025, donating balanced meals, advocating for public policy solutions, and more. To learn more about this important project and how you can help, visit us here.

If your household is looking to do its part, consider these little ways to make a big impact:
  • Composting is the process of recycling organic material, like produce scraps, to make compost. Compost is a nutrient-rich material used for fertilizing plants. It's the cycle of life! Start a compost operation at home with this guide or subscribe to a local compost service - they'll pick up your scraps and bring you finished compost in return. Until then, hold on to your vegetable scraps and bones for homemade broth.
  • Plan, shop, and prep wisely to cut down food waste at its source and use these tips to reduce waste when you make too much. Part of the food waste battle is letting things go bad or throwing them out, thinking they've gone bad according to labeling dates. Use this guide understand expiration dates better and prevent throwing out perfectly good food.
  • Using nutrition science, we're able to upcycle individual ingredients. Aquafaba is one such example - it is the liquid in canned chickpeas that can act as an egg substitute for an astounding number of dishes! Think meringue, marshmallow, baked goods, and even vegan mayonnaise! For the ins and outs of this miracle ingredient, check out this resource from America's Test Kitchen.

Additionally, as a way to improve sustainability across the country, Simple Truth has a partnership with TerraCycle, a company that offers customers a completely free and simple way to recycle “flexible” packaging that would not normally be recycled in a standard program. More than 300 products from Simple Truth are apart of this and it is available nationwide.

How the Simple Truth Recycling Program works:
  1. Sign up at TerraCycle.com/SimpleTruth
  2. Collect Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic flexible plastic packaging (bags, pouches, liners, and wraps)
  3. Ship the packaging to TerraCycle using a free, prepaid shipping label
  4. Earn points for every pound of eligible packaging sent
  5. Redeem points as donations to charitable organizations

Here are some products that can be recycled as a part of the TerraCycle program:
We hope you learned a bit more about composting, recycling, and Kroger’s commitment to reducing waste. Getting into the recycling habit takes some time so make small changes to improve how much you waste. Maybe making some room for a compost bucket under the sink or adding a separate trash can for recycled items could make it easy for you to get started. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment to learn more about how you can eat more sustainably, visit https://www.thelittleclinic.com/dietitian.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Ani Mueller, RDN, LD

Ani Mueller, RDN, LD

Ani is living her dream as a real food dietitian, helping her patients merge the science of nutrition with the art of creating tasty, balanced meals. She competes in the sport of weightlifting and has personal and professional experience in sports nutrition, flexible dieting, and weight loss.