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This month, we speak with the founder of Veggie Saver, the sustainable produce bag, Peita Pini to reveal her secrets to sustainability at home


Welcome back to Better TLKS: A Swedish Sustainability Series. From our roots in Sweden to our over 100-year history of designing premium products that help people live better at home, this series spotlights leaders and pioneers in the environmental sustainability space, much like us, to uncover their eco-friendly journey and help inspire you to live a more considered life.

Did you know that in New Zealand, we throw away over 122,547 tonnes of food a year – enough to feed around 262,917 people, or half the population of the Wellington region for 12 months?1 This month, we’re speaking to Peita Pini, founder of Veggie Saver, the multi-award winning and intelligent produce bag that is scientifically proven to keep fruit and veg fresh for two weeks or more.

Peita created Veggie Saver after realising the extent of fresh food waste in her own home, particularly after having children. Noticing condensation building up inside plastic bags or containers she was storing veggies in, she realised she was storing food in toxic materials, and watching them sweat. Fresh produce is living and breathing, and all living things need air and water to survive. So Peita set out to fix the problem and hasn’t looked back.

Here, we talk to Peita about the simple way she instils eco-friendly practices at home with her young children, including one of her favourite meat-free recipes.

Preparing veggies in the kitchen

1. Firstly, what does living sustainably mean to you?


For me, living sustainability is all about legacy. It's the example I’ve set for my children and all children. It’s what I leave behind for our future generations. It’s the real difference I’ve made for the future of the planet and its wildlife (humans included). Plus, it’s balancing the legacy with what is needed now for environmental care, social well-being, and economic growth.

2. Electrolux is a Swedish brand. What about


Swedish cuisine or ways of living do you admire or feel inspired by? I find the Swedish way of living extremely inspiring, for example, Swedish cuisine is known for its focus on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, which reduces the carbon footprint of food production and supports local farmers and producers.

I also think Swedish culture emphasises frugality and resourcefulness, which can inspire businesses to find ways to reduce waste and maximise the use of resources. Sweden is also known for its commitment to sustainability, with policies and initiatives in place to promote renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect natural resources.

3. How do you practice sustainability every day?


I truly focus on reducing food waste and single-use plastic waste in the home. I invented Veggie Saver to reduce my household food waste and plastic consumption. I’ve been using these bags now for about seven years, and I have to say we don’t waste much food. Prior to using the award–winning and scientifically proven produce bags, I felt tremendous guilt when throwing rotting food away, as I’m well aware of the impact food waste has on the earth and our wallets!

We have a SubPod composting unit with worms and the worms often go hungry unfortunately due to the lack of food waste we generate! Bazil, our dog, tends to devour any leftovers (if there is any) and he’s a dog that thrives on a variety of human food.

I’ve also purchased smaller dinner plates, so we don’t put too much food on our plates in the first place. I’ve taught my kids not to waste food - take only what they can eat and finish everything on their plates.

Using Veggie Saver to reduce food waste and plastic consumption

4. Finally, Electrolux has a Better Living Program encouraging people to eat more diverse protein sources and not always meat. Can you share a favourite meat-free recipe you love to cook?


Our household eats a lot of meat-free meals - the kids love them! Here’s one of my favourites, Red Lentil and Cauliflower Curry. This plant-based recipe is a nourishing meal that will keep the entire family warm and happy this winter. You can also swap the cauliflower with potato!

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

• 1 whole cauliflower
• 2 grated carrots
• 2 cups red lentils
• 3 kale branches
• 1 tbs fresh ginger
• 1 brown onion
• 1 tsp coconut oil
• 2 tinned cans of coconut milk
• 2 tsp ground turmeric
• 2 tbs green curry paste
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Coriander for garnish (optional)

Method:

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Add onion, ginger and cook, stirring until softened and golden. Add the curry paste, turmeric and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add lentils, stir for 30 seconds, add 4 cups of water and let simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add the chopped cauliflower, grated carrots and kale and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the cauliflower is tender and the lentils are cooked about 10 minutes.

4. Finally, add the coconut milk, stir and let it simmer on low heat for 5 more minutes.

5. Allow to cool slightly, garnish with coriander, then serve.

If you want to follow along on Veggie Saver's journey, head to their Instagram or website.

1 https://wellington.govt.nz/rubbish-recycling-and-waste/reducing-your-waste/reducing-waste-at-home/food-waste-in-nz#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20Kiwis%20spend,Wellington%20region%20for%2012%20months.

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