10 Simple Steps Towards a Zero Waste Kitchen
So much of our daily waste is produced in our very own kitchen as it a place we use daily and more than once a day. Before we started our 'zero waste' journey, we used to produce at least 3 full 13-gallon size trash bags per week with only 2 adults in our household. Though we are not technically 'zero waste', we produce a lot less trash. I estimate we have reduced our waste to only 1 bag every week for our entire house. We still have a long ways to go, but we are taking it one step at a time. Here are few changes we have done that have helped reduce our waste by more than half:
1. ZERO WASTE COFFEE/ TEA
If you are a coffee or tea drinker you will notice that most popular coffee makers produce a significant amount of waste, especially if you use brands similar to Keurig. Though their are compostable coffee pods available for sale it is still an unnecessary amount of waste. Reusable pods are also an option but they have been known for not working as well according to most reviewers. One of the best ways to brew zero waste coffee/tea is by using a French Press. You can brew as little as 12oz and up to 50oz of coffee at once. All you need is hot boiling water which takes little to no effort if you own an electric kettle. This is always my top 'green' ditch and switch recommendation.
2. REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS
Grocery shopping can already produce a lot of waste especially when most stores package all their produce with plastic. In fact, there isn't too many things outside of produce that isn't packaged with plastic. That is why the next best thing you can do to reduce waste is to use re-usable grocery bags. This certainly may mean you may have to be more active when it comes to bagging your groceries but it is certainly worth it! Your reusable bags will hold more than the bags provided at the store and will be much more sturdy allowing you to make fewer trips to and from the car. Now, if you'd like to SHOP WITH STYLE, check our shop for the cutest canvas totes and spread some green vibes while you run your errands.
3. REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS
Aside from using re-uable grocery bags, you can also find re-usable produce bags! These bags are especially handy when you buy multiple's of smaller fruits or vegetables such as limes, lemons, and tomatoes. Instead of using the flimsy produce bags at the store, bring your own. The flimsy-transparent bags provided at the store are hardly ever reusable.
4. FRESH PRODUCE
Fresh produce may be more expensive than canned but it is certainly much better for you and more affordable when in season - not to mention it will produce less waste! Canned foods can easily fill your trash bags and though they can be recycled - it is better to avoid them all together when possible. The same is true of frozen meals, boxed foods & bottled drinks.
5. WAX WRAP
There is a fantastic replacement to plastic food wrap that is not only healthier for you but also cuter! Check out the newest rave: wax food wraps. These are made from cloth and bee's wax and work so well. Whether you make your own or purchase them you can find them in a variety of sizes and patterns.
6. RE-USABLE NAPKINS
Even though paper napkins may feel 100x more convenient, switching to cloth napkins is one of the best things you can do. Not only will your guests be impressed but you will also reduce your waste by so much! Just make sure to have enough to last you for at least a week and you will never regret making this switch.
This step is obvious but worth mentioning. If your city offers a recycling program, sign up! If not, you can find out where your closest recycling drop off centers are and take them there once a month. The average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime. Simply, recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours.
I realize this habit is not for everyone as composting is more of an art and takes extra care. Some cities do offer compost pick-up services, so definitely check if yours does. If you decide to compost at home you will be doing the earth such a huge favor! Composting is a natural process of recycling organic material such as leaves and vegetable scraps into a rich soil amendment used to revitalize the ground.
9. DITCH THE STRAW
You may have heard all about the #ditchthestraw movement. Straws are mostly a luxury and hardly a necessity for most people. There are various re-usable straw options you can have at home or pack for travel. When hosting parties using paper straws is a much greener option!
10. STAY AWAY FROM INDIVIDUALIZED PACKAGING
Much less waste is produce when you shop in bulk - well depending on the ingredient and also the store. When you buy dry beans, noodles, cereal in bulk you will generally be buying it with less plastic. Stay away from personalized or individualized snack packages (trust me, I know how convenient they are so take it one step at a time) as those produce the most waste. Instead of buying individualized nut packages buy a large container of your favorite mix and package it yourself in small re-usable containers. Popular individually packaged snacks to avoid include: yogurt, cheese, granola bars, & pretzels.
If you got to the end of this list you are already amazing. I want to personally thank you for caring and for searching for viable and more sustainable options to reduce your waste and intentionally care for our planet. By slowly switching to these mentioned re-usable and more sustainable options in your kitchen you will slowly reduce your waste and in turn even save money. Share your experience below if you have already made any of the above suggested changes.
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