Almost Zero Effort to Zero Waste Your Kitchen

The Zero Waste Life is intimidating to a lot of people. They think it takes too much effort, is too hard and involves a lot of nitpicking the plastics that gets inside their home. But giving your kitchen a zero waste makeover takes almost zero effort, it’s as easy as pressing a button.

By Jean Ong

For us millennials, we use apps to reduce our kitchen waste. First off, we’ll zero in on what can half the contents of our trash can. Food waste and kitchen scraps are the bulk of the contents of the trash can. So, if we can reduce this, then the battle to zero waste the kitchen is half won.

1. Food Waste

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When you have a fully stocked pantry, who could blame you if you overlook some of its contents right? There’s bound to be food that gets lost in there. And who keeps track of expiry dates anyway? Or what about that half-used Sesame Oil from your Chinese food cooking phase?

pantry made from wooden crates
Photo by Muradi on Unsplash

All these become food waste when they go bad before we use them up. But, tech savvy people now use apps to help in the kitchen. Apps like Kitchen Pal, SuperCook or NoWaste do all the work to eliminate waste in the kitchen. It’s like hiring a kitchen manager that runs our entire kitchen. It keeps food from expiring, plans our meals for us, creates an “eat me first” bin, prevents food from getting lost in the pantry, and makes grocery shopping easy.

The app organizes the pantry so we know what’s in there. It also zeroes in on keeping food from the pantry going past the expiry date, it suggests recipes based on what’s in the pantry and recipes that will use up the expiring food in the pantry, and it comes with function to create a shopping list.

I, personally, love this KitchenPal app. It’s brilliant how it does the meal planning for me. It makes it a no-brainer as the app shows me what I can whip up with what I already have.

What About The Food In Your Pantry You Dislike After-all?

two people holing bowl of tomatoes
Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

Remember going food shopping when you felt adventurous and grabbed a pack of Korean condiments, or a 12-pack Japanese ramen? Or trying a new brand of 6-pack beers? And then you found out you don’t like how it tastes afterall. What happens to the 5 packs left?

Throwing perfectly good food is no good. But forcing yourself to eat them is even worse. Good thing, there’s the Olio app that makes it easy for people to share food. It’s a sharing app that lets the average person give away their food to someone who wants it. It’s a network of donors who give away their surplus food so it won’t go to waste.

How does it work? It’s location based, so all you have to do is sign up. And you can post what food you are looking to give away. The donor and the recipient will both agree on the specifics like time of pick-up, place and other considerations.

2. Kitchen Scraps

Kitchen scraps? Have it picked up or donate it.

Not all foodwaste comes from food that’s gone bad. Another secret source of waste comes from the fruit and vegetable peels we throw away. These foodscraps aren’t edible, but they’re not exactly waste either. They are the building blocks of a healthy soil.

seedlings potted up
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

So either subscribe to a composting service that picks up your scraps at your home or use the Sharewaste app to take those food scraps and create healthy soil thru composting. The app is like a Tinder for donors of kitchen scraps and people who want it.

How does it work? It’s location based, and you have to sign up as a donor of kitchen scraps. The home page will show the list of composting recipients (hosts) near you. You and the host will both agree on the specifics like time of pick-up, place and other considerations and voila! Kitchen scraps get diverted from your kitchen trash can to create a healthy garden soil.

3. Restocking Kitchen Utensils

When you need to restock on kitchen utensils, décor, cooking implements, use this zero waste trick that ALSO saves you money:

Shop on Facebook.

More than just a social media app, it’s one powerful app being used to do good. Shopping in Facebook’s Buy Nothing groups is the savvy eco warrior’s way to restock their kitchen WITHOUT spending anything. Instead of treating these pre-loved/pre-used items as waste, they are given new homes where they are used until they break. That means you divert them from getting sent to the landfill. And getting them from Buy Nothing groups costs nothing because buying or selling on the platform is not allowed.

How does it work? You join your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook. You scroll for the things you need. When you see something you like based on the photos, you arrange with the donor how you can get it. You agree with the donor on the specifics like time of pick-up, place and other considerations. And just like that! You get to furnish your home while spending nothing.

4. Getting Take Out

Take outs really pile-on the trash with the disposable cutlery, plastic take-out containers and the plastic bag they come in.

One easy way to cut down on waste is to tell the restaurants to omit the disposable cutlery. And then upcycle the plastic take-out containers.

Those disposable take out containers make great space-saving pantry organizers or freezer meat organizers. Just stick a label on the container and use it as a stackable pantry organizer. All you need is an app for label makers to create a stackable pantry organizer out of your take-out containers. Label Maker & Creator app has templates that lets you create labels in cute designs.

Personally, I love everything coordinated and organized. So I collect take-out containers and use them as my organizers. I transfer all my meat in these upcycled containers and stack them in the freezer. The label makes it easy for me to know what’s inside the container in one glance.

For the savvy millennial, this is what giving your kitchen a zero waste makeover looks like. Everything is done at the touch of a button. And these apps makes zero waste run on auto pilot in your kitchen, so its effortless and easy.

Using apps to run a zero waste kitchen actually ends up simplifying your life.


woman smiling

Jean Ong is the founder of Ecolover United, a movement that makes it easier for the everyday folk to live sustainably and in style.

She graduated college with a degree in Business Management major in Marketing, she currently work as a store manager by day, and an Earth Hero at night and on the weekends.

She’s a keen nature lover, maybe this came from fulfilling the prophetic nature of getting her name? Her Chinese name is Lin, meaning forest or grove of trees.

She believes that: if it’s good for Mother Earth, it’s good for you.

You can find her on Instagram at @jean.ecolover_united

2 thoughts on “Almost Zero Effort to Zero Waste Your Kitchen”

  1. Wow! I learned something here! Thanks! Definitely will download those mentioned Apps. More power to you guys and please continue spreading helpful information to save our Mother Earth 🌎

  2. How I organize my pantry? I buy stuff I normally use in the kitchen. My kitchen rule: First In-First Out.
    1. Canned foods in one section
    2. Food in breakable jars goes together, do not stack them high.
    3. Keep the junkfoods high up the shelves so they are not reachable by kids.
    4. Organize according to use, keep foods that are related in one section such as: Baking, cooking, sauces, dry, seasonings, noodles & pasta, breakfast, beverage, etc.
    5. Clean up the pantry or shelves often to check on expiry dates.

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